When performing direct outreach, the outreach worker may interact with a potential victim in a one-time encounter or only for a few minutes at a time. Providing that individual with a hotline number can connect a potential victim with a trusted social service organization. Individuals performing direct outreach are providing potential victims with tools to seek a way out in the future, as victims typically will not decide immediately to pursue help.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) has a toll-free 24-hour hotline that is staffed by trained professionals 24/7. It is confidential and has access to tele-interpretation services. (NHTRC’s mission is to connect human trafficking victims and survivors to critical support and services to get help and stay safe, and to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all forms of human trafficking. It offers round-the-clock access to a safe space to report tips, seek services, and ask for help.)
Multilingual hotlines are crucial when performing outreach to foreign national populations. The NHTRC can provide assistance to callers in over 200 languages.
Local hotlines: Some communities choose to distribute a local hotline number instead of the National Hotline number. When choosing to distribute a local hotline number, consider the following:
- Is the hotline staffed 24/7?
- Is tele-interpretation available?
- Are hotline staff trained professionals or volunteers working in conjunction with law enforcement and social service agencies?
- Are hotline staff familiar with human trafficking and human trafficking indicators? Are they trained to ask questions specific to human trafficking?
- Is there a social service agency in place that can respond to victims in a trauma-informed manner? Does that social service agency have a referral network to respond to the needs of a trafficked person?
- If someone in a non-trafficking related crisis calls, are hotline staff able to make appropriate referrals?