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Human Trafficking 101: Combating Misinformation with Education

Communities that care – made up of people like you – are the single most powerful weapon we have to prevent and reduce human trafficking. But to leverage the power of those communities and that compassion, we first have to arm them with knowledge. This has never been more important. Interest in working to support survivors and end human trafficking has never been stronger, but misinformation and disinformation has also flooded the online ecosystem. This has created panic and confusion that ultimately will make it harder for communities and survivor leaders to do the real work necessary to support those at risk for trafficking.

For this reason, Polaris has created an interactive, online training program: Human Trafficking 101. The training is comprised of six modules which address what human trafficking is, how it happens, who the victims and traffickers are, highlights the importance of knowing the story vs. knowing the signs, and discusses what we can all do in the fight against human trafficking.

There are also brief quizzes after each module to reinforce participants’ knowledge as they go, along with videos of survivors sharing their experience to provide additional insight into how sex and labor trafficking can happen, and what can be done to prevent it from the perspective of those with lived experience. Upon completing the online training, participants receive a certificate indicating that they have completed the training and are encouraged to share it with their networks.

We are asking you to spread the word about this training as far and as wide as you can. It has never been more urgent.

In the summer of 2020, conspiracy theories ranging from children being sold on furniture websites to rumors about text messages being used as a sex trafficking recruitment tool, flooded the Polaris-operated National Human Trafficking Hotline with calls and concerns that were simply not true. The barrage crowded out calls and contacts from people who truly needed help.

That has slowed down considerably, but the countless well-meaning people who learned about trafficking for the first time as result of those rumors are still out there – an untapped resource of well-meaning, compassionate people like you who can help to make real change.

The training can also be helpful for people who have been in the anti trafficking movement for a long time, who know that white vans and zip-ties are not part of the reality of how trafficking operates, but want the latest knowledge on how to help. As the anti trafficking movement has evolved over the past 20 years, we have learned more from survivor leaders about the real-life situations that made them vulnerable to trafficking. Armed with this knowledge we can work together to prevent trafficking in the first place.

If you work with a corporation interested in adapting this training for your employees, please contact us at

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Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.