Mentors Play a Role in Protecting Youth from Human Trafficking

By U.S Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, Reprinted from the National Mentoring Resource Center

Young people are especially vulnerable to crimes of exploitation and human trafficking. In fact, according to the most recent data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, more than 23% of human trafficking cases involve victims who are minors. Mentors work with young people to build protective factors and resiliency, and are in a unique position to speak with youth about what exploitation can look like and how they can protect themselves.

There are a variety of human trafficking awareness and prevention resources available to mentors working with youth. Learn about them below.

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a crime that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Any minor (under the age of 18) engaged in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking according to federal law, regardless of whether there is force, fraud, or coercion. Trafficking involves the exploitation of another person, whether through psychological or physical control. Human trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, and socioeconomic class. Traffickers often prey on victims with little or no social safety net, and that is why mentors of youth can play such an important role in reaching potential victims and preventing the crime.

Blue Campaign Resources

Blue Campaign has a variety of materials for both youth and mentors working with youth. From comprehensive toolkits to informational videos, the following resources can empower you as a mentor to help prevent victimization:

All Blue Campaign materials are accessible for free download or ordering, and many are available in multiple languages. For more information, visit

About Blue Campaign

Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign designed to educate the public, law enforcement, and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases. Blue Campaign works closely with DHS Components to develop general awareness trainings, as well as specific educational resources to help reduce victimization within vulnerable populations. Blue Campaign is a member of the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking, a cross-department coordination center for countering sex trafficking and forced labor, including the importation of goods produced with forced labor.

Reporting Human Trafficking

Do not at any time attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to your suspicions. Follow your organization’s protocols for reporting a child in danger. You can also report suspected human trafficking in the following ways:

  • Call 911 or local law enforcement if you or someone else is in immediate danger.
  • Call 1-866-347-2423 to report suspicious criminal activity to the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line or submit a tip online.
  • Call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733) to report suspected human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
  • Call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or got to to report suspected child sex trafficking, sextortion, online enticement, and sexual abuse material to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

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