Human trafficking, as defined by U.S. law, is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel a person into commercial sex acts or labor against their will. Over the past 20 years, organizations and individuals have done an incredible job raising awareness about human trafficking. But in the process, harmful misinformation has arisen. In order to accelerate the response to human trafficking on a larger scale—mass prevention measures like investing in safe, affordable housing; a stable foster care system; equitable economic and criminal justice policies; ending gender-based violence—and work towards prevention, we must first truly understand what exactly human trafficking is, who it happens to, and how.

For more than 15 years, Junior Leagues have joined forces with law enforcement, government officials, anti-trafficking organizations and other community change-makers to raise awareness about human trafficking, advocate for the passage of anti-trafficking legislation, and support survivors. To-date, 50-plus Junior Leagues have joined the fight against human trafficking. League coalitions have worked to pass more than 25 different pieces of anti-trafficking legislation, primarily at the state and local level.

One organization Junior Leagues look to for guidance is the nonprofit organization Polaris—the “North Star” for victims of human trafficking and slavery since 2002. Polaris responds in real time to sex and labor trafficking, serving victims and survivors through the National Human Trafficking Hotline. They also build datasets on human trafficking, and turn knowledge into targeted systems-level strategies to disrupt and prevent human trafficking.

Polaris actively focuses on areas where they can make the most change, including:

  • systems that trap impoverished migrants in degrading conditions
  • systems that allow sex traffickers to hide behind screens
  • systems that, if optimized, would allow the financial services industry to use traffickers’ own money to shut them down

Sign up for “Human Trafficking 101” to be part of the solution

Polaris’s free human trafficking training, “Human Trafficking 101,” will equip organizations like The Junior League to be an even more powerful resource to prevent and reduce human trafficking. We encourage everyone to take “Human Trafficking 101” to learn what human trafficking really is, how it happens, and how you can be part of the solution. This training isn’t just for people who don’t know much about human trafficking. Those who have long been involved in the anti-trafficking movement but seek the latest knowledge on how to respond will also benefit.

The training is broken down into six short video modules focused on the basics of human trafficking, and also includes survivor stories, case studies, and quizzes.

  1. Defining Human Trafficking breaks down exactly what human trafficking is and isn’t.
  2. How Human Trafficking Happens investigates ways human trafficking often occurs in the U.S.
  3. Understanding the Victims details who is vulnerable to human trafficking and why.
  4. How Traffickers Operate shows common recruiting tactics traffickers use, how they control their victims, and what makes it difficult for victims to leave.
  5. Recognizing Human Trafficking explains the importance of not just knowing the signs of human trafficking, but the story behind a situation.
  6. Now What? offers ways to apply the knowledge you have gained to both stop human trafficking before it begins and to support survivors.

At the end of the short training, which you can work on at your own pace, you will receive a certification that you completed the “Human Trafficking 101” training program through Polaris.

Polaris is counting on all of us to share this training with as many people as possible.Communities that care – made up of people like you – are the single most powerful weapon we have to prevent and reduce human trafficking,” says Polaris . The first step in this fight is to create a solid foundation of knowledge. That starts by signing up for “Human Trafficking 101.”