Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion in exchange for labor, services, or a commercial sex act.
Causing someone under the age of 18 to engage in a commercial sex act, regardless of using force, fraud, or coercion, is human trafficking under U.S. law. Human traffickers use various forms of force, fraud, and coercion to control and exploit victims. These forms include imposing of debt, fraudulent employment opportunities, false promises of love or a better life, psychological coercion, and violence or threats of violence.
The crime of human trafficking hinges on the exploitation of another person. People often falsely believe “human trafficking” implies victims must be moved from one place to another to qualify as a victim. Human trafficking does not require transportation to be considered a crime. It is a crime that can be committed against an individual who has never left his or her hometown.
You can help play a role in ending human trafficking by learning key indicators of the crime, raising awareness of human trafficking within your community or industry, and reporting suspected trafficking incidents. Individuals working in particular industries or with specific audiences may be more likely to observe human trafficking by nature of their day-to-day job duties or surroundings. Use the cards below to navigate to Blue Campaign Resources for the following groups:
- Law Enforcement
- Convenience Retail Industry Professionals
- Transportation Industry Professionals
- Hospitality Industry Professionals
- Youth Caretakers and Professionals
- Student Leaders
- Faith-Based Community Leaders
The Blue Lightning Initiative is an element of the DHS Blue Campaign, led by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and DHS Component Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Community leaders educate those around them about a variety of issues and topics, including human trafficking.
There are several industries that are well-positioned to recognize human trafficking due to being located where human trafficking occurs, the anonymity offered by the nature of the service or product, or their 24/7 operations.
Law enforcement officials may encounter a potential victim of human trafficking during the course of their duties, during domestic disturbance calls, when responding to incidents at massage parlors, bars, and strip clubs, or even during routine traffic stops.
This page identifies several ways you or your organization can work with Blue Campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking in your community.