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VHA Social Work

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National Social Work Program

National Human Trafficking Prevention Month


January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Human trafficking is a nationwide public health concern impacting Veterans, their families, and caregivers. Human
trafficking means to control someone forcing them to work against their will. Control can be through physical force, threats, debts, or false promises. Work can be anything from manual labor to sex work to being a servant in a home.
VA has a critical role in this global effort to eliminate human trafficking. Be invested, increase your awareness about human trafficking, and don’t miss the signs or opportunities to intervene. 

VA News: Human trafficking: It can happen to anyone


Know the signs of trafficking  

Human trafficking victims are often “hidden in plain sight.” Take time to learn how to identify and respond to people who are at risk or who have experienced trafficking.
Here are a few situations that might raise concerns:

  • A family member, friend, or co-worker is recruited for an opportunity that requires them to move far away and, their recruiter or prospective employer avoids answering their questions or is reluctant to provide detailed information about the job.
  • A would-be employer collects fees from a potential worker for the “opportunity” to work in a particular job.
  • A friend, family member, co-worker, or child is newly showered with gifts or money. They may become involved in an overwhelming and fast-moving relationship. There is usually a large difference in age or financial status in this situation.
  • A family member, friend, co-worker, or child is developing a relationship that seems too close with someone they know solely on social media and is being asked for money.
  • A family member, friend, or child lives with a parent or guardian and shows signs of abuse.
  • A family member, friend, or co-worker is offered a job opportunity that seems too good to be true.

Be aware. Be ready. Take action.

You may very likely encounter someone who is being trafficked. How can you help?


Reach out. Get help. Report trafficking.

If you or someone you know may be involved in human trafficking, contact the Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, text BEFREE to 23373, or visit https://humantraffickinghotline.org* to learn more.

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Resources - learn more.  

To learn more about human trafficking, explore the links listed below*: 



Need Help?

There is a Social Work leader in every VA health care system to help you get the care you need. The Social Work leader will connect you to the VA employee who can assist., contact your local VA Healthcare System Social Work Leader.


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