Every year, on July 30, human trafficking is acknowledged and discussed across the globe for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

In 2013, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution declaring a global day of awareness about human trafficking.

The resolution declared that this day was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”

This year, the theme is “Reach Every Victim of Trafficking, Leave No One Behind.”

Globally, statistics reflect that responses to human trafficking are crumbling, with identification falling by 11% in 2020 and convictions falling by 27%. According to UNDOC, 41% of victims who escape the experience reach out to authorities on their own, which is a clear indicator that responses globally are falling short.

In the United States, it would appear that those plummeting numbers are also accurate. According to the Federal Human Trafficking Report, there were only 183 new criminal cases across the U.S. of human trafficking filed in federal court, which is a drop of 24% since 2021. The same report shows a 10% decrease in federal districts initiating at least one human trafficking case, and compared to 2021 there was a 37% decrease in the number of defendants charged.

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was a long time in the making. Since 2003, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has collected data on trafficking victims across the world.

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in 2006, requested for intergovernmental agencies across the world to collaborate to strengthen technical assistance provided to various countries in regard to human trafficking. And in March of 2007, the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Human Trafficking was created. In 2010, the UN General Assembly finally adopted the Global Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in Persons urging governments across the globe to collaborate and become consistent in their work to address human trafficking. 

In that same year, the United States passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which defined the term for Americans, and became the foundation of all the anti-human trafficking work in the U.S.

Training, technical assistance and collaboration are imperative in the fight to end human trafficking. As the UNDOC, governments and global NGOs work to combat this violence on a global scale, agencies like NC Stop Human Trafficking work to build the knowledge and collaborative efforts at home.

According to the UNDOC, leaving people behind means:

Failing to end the exploitation of trafficking victim

NC Stop Human Trafficking works to end the exploitation of trafficking victims through working on demand reduction initiatives and empowering caregivers to talk to children about internet safety, boundaries, pornography, and consent.

Failing to support victim-survivors once they are free from their traffickers

NC Stop Human Trafficking empowers direct service providers through training on how to identify and best communicate with survivor/victims of human trafficking. It also works to train law enforcement to identify and then provide the necessary services to victim/survivors instead of penalizing them for their own victimization. 

Leaving identifiable groups vulnerable to trafficking

NC Stop Human Trafficking has expanded its programming to reach the Hispanic population in North Carolina in an effort to ensure that they know their rights and how to get help if they need it. It also continues to have the difficult community conversations about marginalization of groups of people based on their ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and gender identity. NC Stop Human Trafficking works to advocate for policies and system changes that would make these groups less vulnerable, thereby reducing their chances of being exploited.

NC Stop Human Trafficking, in 2022, trained 630 first responders and law enforcement officers in how to identify and respond to human trafficking, which is a direct effort to ensure that response to human trafficking in North Carolina is strong and trauma-informed. NC Stop Human Trafficking also trained 63 professional groups across the state, which include law enforcement, social workers, school personnel and health care providers.

NC Stop Human Trafficking is committed to making sure every victim of human trafficking is reached with no one left behind.  

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— Written by Melinda Sampson, Chief Operating Officer, NC Stop Human Trafficking. To reach Melinda, email melinda@encstophumantafficking.org