National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.  Tompkins County has become a Safe Harbour county in NY which indicates our commitment to raising awareness and to the coordinated response to youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking or who are vulnerable to it.

The welfare of youth that may be victims of exploitation or trafficking is dependent on awareness, paying attention to the signs, and your action(s) to help.  Victims may look like anyone you encounter every day.  Below you will find some helpful tips in identifying the signs that may point to a youth in need of intervention.


Chronic runaway/ homeless youth

Injuries/ signs of physical abuse

LGBTQ youth

Not enrolled in school or has repeated absences

Socially isolated

Presence of another person (often older, who seems to be controlling)

High number of sexual partners

Not in control of their own money

Tattoos that he/she/ze is reluctant to explain


Lying about age/ having fake ID

Inconsistencies when describing and recounting events

Unable or unwilling to give local address or information about parent(s)

Exhibits fear, anxiety, depression, submissiveness, and or nervousness

Expresses interest in, or is in, relationships with adults or older individuals


Having things that they normally wouldn’t

Excessive amounts of cash

Hotel key cards

Excessive jewelry or clothing

New electronic devices

Prepaid cell phone

Exploiters can be anyone including friends, family members, trusted adults, or someone who is claiming to have a romantic relationship with the youth. They target vulnerable youth and use psychological and physical manipulation to force them into a life of slavery.

If you suspect that a youth you have encountered is in an emergency situation, where the safety and welfare of the youth is in imminent jeopardy, contact 9-1-1 and report the situation.

If you need to discuss the case or would like to request free support contact the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County on their 24-hour hotline (607) 277-5000 or the office at (607) 277-3203.

For more information visit listenforthesigns.org  

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Monthly Messages are brought to you by the Tompkins County Youth Services Department, a proud partner of The Community Coalition for Healthy Youth.

If you have further questions or comments about this message or would like information on how to become involved with the Community Coalition for Healthy Youth, please email ahendrix@tompkins-co.org

Thank you in advance for sharing this monthly message with all of your networks. More detailed versions of this message and all previous messages can be found at http://www.healthyyouth.org/monthly-messages.php.

For more information on-line, go to Links – Tips for Families, Parents and Youth Workers