Here you will find curricula, conversation starters, and other tools to expand your own understanding of human trafficking and help educate your family and community on the issue.

Glossary of Terms

  • Abolition(ist): One who works to end human trafficking. Some advocates of legalizing prostitution use this term to refer to one who works to eradicate all prostitution, including sex trafficking.
  • Child Prostitute: The traditional term for a minor who provides sexual services in exchange for anything of value (money, drugs, food, a place to stay, etc.). The word is generally disfavored, because it incorrectly assumes that minors have the legal capacity to consent and that the victim “chooses” this. The preferred term is “child sex-trafficking victim” or “child sex-trafficking survivor.”
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC): The exchange of sexual services with a minor for anything of value (money, drugs, food, a place to stay, etc.).
  • Demand: A term used by trafficking and prostitution scholars to describe the buyers, who provide the economic “demand” for prostitution and sex trafficking (which traffickers respond to with a “supply” of sex trafficking victims).
  • Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST): The sex trafficking of US-citizen minors in the US. By some estimates, DMST is the most common form of human trafficking in the US.
  • Human Smuggling: Helping others illegally cross a border, often for a fee. Human smuggling is NOT a synonym for human trafficking. Human smuggling refers to illegal immigration, whereas human trafficking refers to modern-day slavery. Human trafficking does not require any movement of persons at all, much less the crossing of a border.
  • Human Trafficking: “The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for
    • (1) sex trafficking in which
      • (A) a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or
      • (B) in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
    • (2) labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery[commonly known as labor trafficking].” (official US definition, Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000)
  • John/Buyer: One who exchanges anything of value (money, drugs, food, a place to stay, etc.) for any sexual services. Also called a “trick,” a “client,” or a “hobbyist.”
  • Labor Trafficking: See “Human Trafficking” (2).
  • Modern-Day Slavery: The “shorthand” often used by anti-trafficking advocates to sum up the legal definition of human trafficking. While it is a useful term, it is worth noting that some situations which would meet the federal definition of “human trafficking” might not involve every element of what many people associate with the term “slavery,” e.g., the overt buying and selling of persons, physical violence, getting paid absolutely nothing for work, etc.
  • Pimp: A sex trafficker. The term “sex trafficker” is preferred, because it appropriately connotes the criminality and human rights abuses the person is engaging in, and avoids some of the pop-culture stereotypes of what a “pimp” is (which are utterly wrong).
  • Prostitute: The traditional term for a person who provides sexual services in exchange for anything of value (money, drugs, food, a place to stay, etc.), especially one who does so “of their own free will.” The word is generally disfavored for its pejorative connotation, and because well over 90 percent of people in prostitution report that they would like to stop but feel unable to do so.  The preferred term is “prostituted person” or “person in prostitution.”
  • Prostituted Woman/Person: The preferred term for people in prostitution, which rightly recognizes that others, i.e., traffickers and buyers, are responsible for prostitution, even “voluntary” prostitution, if, in fact, such a thing truly exists.
  • Sex Industry: The market for sexual services.
  • Sex Slavery: A near-synonym of “sex trafficking.” The only difference is that sex slavery may not always involve a commercial element, e.g., the recent case of the three captive girls in Ohio.
  • Sex Trafficking: See “Human Trafficking” (1)(A) and (B).
  • Sex Work(er): A term used primarily by advocates of the legalization of prostitution to describe “voluntary” prostitution (assuming that such a thing exists), in an effort to portray “sex work” as being no different from other occupations.
  • Sexual Assault: When an individual engages in any sexual activity without the explicit consent of the other person. Minors cannot give consent under the law.
  • Swedish Model: An approach to prostitution policy, first enacted in Sweden and later replicated elsewhere, in which the sale of sex is legal, but the purchase of sex is illegal. This policy has empirically reduced both sex trafficking and so-called “voluntary” prostitution more than either total legalization or total criminalization of prostitution.
  • Trick: (1) An individual transaction in prostitution. (2) A buyer.

TAT Online Portal

get tat truckers against trafficking certified

Resources for parents

The Cool Aunt Series: An Online Sex Trafficking Prevention Course for Teens

Digital Health & Safety Resources by Lauren’s Kids

Conversation with my daughter about human trafficking,” a HuffPost article by Stephanie Hepburn

How to Talk to Your Kids About Human Trafficking” by Bridging Freedom

Girls Like Us,” a memoir by Rachel Lloyd of GEMS

Walking Prey: How America’s Youth are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery,” by Holly Austin Smith

State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws by Polaris

Privacy and Internet Safety by Common Sense Media

Discussing Body Safety by Parenting Safe Children

Online Safety Resources by ECPAT

Digital comics for youth by UNITAS

Street Grace

Links to Curriculum on Human Trafficking

Global Centurion–curriculum for middle and high school students

Bodies are Not Commodities” curriculum by the A21 Campaign

Chosen” DVD curriculum by SharedHope

Other Resources

Freedom’s Journey: Understanding Human Trafficking,an interactive site from the online MSW program at the University of Southern California

The Typology of Modern Slavery by Polaris

Únete a la Solución by Polaris: An awareness campaign entirely in Spanish directed toward empowering Latino and Hispanic communities to join the fight against human trafficking.

National Runaway Safeline: The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) serves as the federally designated nation hotline for runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth, and provides 24/7 nationwide hotline (1-800-RUNAWAY) and online services ( NRS’ Home Free service provides free Greyhound Lines bus tickets to qualifying runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of trafficking ages 12-21.

Pimp Culture Glorification and Sex Trafficking: An article from Psychology Today

WHY THE NHTH? 1-888-3737-888

Why should I call the NHTH instead of 911?

Always start by calling the NHTH. However, when you report a potential trafficking situation to the NHTH that is occurring in the moment at a truck stop, especially in a remote location, in order to ensure the most immediate response our Hotline Advocate will typically ask you to hang-up, call 911 and then call us back to report the tip. The Hotline Advocate will then pass this information along to our trained federal, state, and local law enforcement contacts who are available to respond to tips 24/7 and will do so with an informed, victim-centered trafficking investigation.

**Reminder: consent from a victim and the safety of all individuals involved are key factors in determining whether or not an immediate law enforcement response is appropriate. The Hotline Advocate will assess for these factors during your initial phone call.

Why aren’t all tips reported to law enforcement?

Each tip the NHTH receives is unique and reporting decisions are made on a case-by-case basis to determine the most appropriate next steps that prioritize the safety and consent of individuals involved in the case.  The nature of response to a potential trafficking tip depends on multiple factors: the urgency of the situation, the unique needs and wishes of the victim (if known), the specificity of the information provided, the presence of indicators of severe forms of trafficking in persons, relevant state and/or federal laws, and the referral and reporting protocols established between the NHTH and the local actors in a given area.

The NHTH will inform appropriate authorities if we suspect child abuse, have reason to believe there is imminent harm to you or others, or if we are required by law.

**Reminder: even if the NHTH doesn’t report your tip to law enforcement, your information is still valuable, as it helps us map trafficking trends and hotspots. This information is available to law enforcement and anti-trafficking providers who use it to strengthen their responses to the issue.

I know you report cases involving minors to law enforcement, but what about adults? If the NHTH can’t speak to an adult victim directly, can you still report to law enforcement?

When reporting a tip, the Hotline Advocate will always ask to speak directly to the potential victim in order to obtain explicit consent to make a report on his/her behalf and discuss the reporting and referral options. However, we understand that there are many barriers to speaking directly with trafficking victims. In these cases the Hotline Advocate will ask you to describe the situation in as much detail as possible and use this information, along with assessing the various levels of danger and immediate threats of harm to the potential victim, to make the report. If the NHTH has knowledge that significant harm to a potential victim is imminent, a report to law enforcement will be made immediately.

**Reminder: reporting to law enforcement without the knowledge or consent of a potential victim can put the potential victim in more danger. A potential victim of trafficking is likely to deny she needs help if her situation is reported without her knowledge, leaving her subsequently vulnerable to abuse from her trafficker who may blame her for the report.

 Why are you asking for my name and phone number? What are you going to do with it?

We take your privacy seriously – all calls to the NHTH are confidential.

When you call the hotline to report a tip we might ask if you are willing to provide us with your name and phone number. We ask for this information so that we can follow-up with you if we need additional information. The NHTH will not share your information or confirm that you have called the hotline with anyone, including law enforcement, service providers, or other individuals or agencies, without your consent.

If you prefer, you can report a tip anonymously. You do not need to provide your name or any identifying details about your situation unless you are comfortable doing so. If you wish to report a tip anonymously, the NHTH will protect your anonymity when sharing information about a potential trafficking case with appropriate authorities.