Human trafficking and its connection to runaways


Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which traffickers force adults and children into sex or labor services. This is a growing crime, and all childcare providers should take it seriously. It can be difficult to identify a victim of human trafficking based on one or two criteria. However, the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline outlined several risk factors in its 2019 data report. Children are more susceptible to being a victim if they have issues with substance use, they run away or are homeless, or have recently migrated or relocated.

Children are often recruited by an intimate partner, close friend, or a family member. Other recruitment tactics include fake advertisements or job offers that promise large sums of money without disclosing the type of work required. Once recruited, it becomes difficult for victims to leave because abusers use multiple forms of force, fraud, and coercion. A trafficker might induce or exploit substance abuse issues, use physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, and intimidate.

“ more about this topic in an effort to stop this crime from affecting your community. The following links operate an anonymous reporting tool 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click on the link for The National Human Trafficking Hotline, call the hotline number 1-888-373-7888, or text BEFREE (233733). For additional information on runaway hotlines and parenting information on how to handle certain situations between youths and parents, visit The National Runaway Safeline at


Kentucky Department of Education. (2020). Human trafficking. Retrieved from

National Runaway Safeline. (n.d.). Here to listen, here to help. Retrieved from

Office of the Attorney General. (2020). Human trafficking. Retrieved from

US National Human Trafficking Hotline (2019). Polaris 2019 data report. Retrieved from

Source: David Weisenhorn, Ph.D., Senior Specialist for Parenting and Child Development

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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