By Melinda Sampson, Community Outreach Coordinator

The National Human Trafficking Hotline recently released its 2021 data on calls and cases, and North Carolina remains in the top 15 states in the U.S. for human trafficking cases.

While it is good to see numbers and data, it is important to note that the National Human Trafficking Hotline numbers are not an accurate representation of human trafficking in North Carolina.

In 2021, the hotline received 922 signals (calls, texts, and live chats) from North Carolina, which amounted to 223 confirmed cases. The cases resulted in 340 victims of human trafficking being identified.

There were 318 signals received from victims or survivors of human trafficking in 2021.

The majority of the reports were sex trafficking, accounting for 165 cases with the remainder being labor trafficking alone and instances of sex and labor trafficking cases occurring in tandem with one another.

The top three venues that North Carolina struggles with when examining the call data about sex trafficking cases are the illicit massage/spa businesses, hotels/motels, and pornography.

As for labor trafficking, the top two industries are domestic work and agriculture, with other miscellaneous industries reporting labor trafficking in 2021.

The hotline data does not reflect the age-range of the victims who were identified in 2021.

These numbers do not reflect local, state, and federal law enforcement investigations.

These numbers do not reflect the number of victims accessing support through domestic violence, sexual assault, children’s advocacy, and/or human trafficking NGOs. It also does not include all the people who have not been identified as a victim of human trafficking.

These numbers do, however, give policy makers, service providers, and law enforcement a snapshot of the issue.

Comparatively, the top five states in the country with the highest human trafficking case counts are California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, and Ohio.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported a total of 51,073 signals in 2021, with 13,277 coming from victims or survivors themselves. Of those signals, 10,360 human trafficking confirmed cases and 16,710 victims identified across the country.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

Click here to learn more about human trafficking in North Carolina.