Raleigh Jan 10, 2022 Governor Roy Cooper declared January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11th as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to increase awareness of the growing crime and highlight ways North Carolinians can identify and help victims. North Carolina currently ranks 9th nationally for reported human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. “North Carolina’s major interstates, large military population and numerous agricultural areas make our state extremely popular for human traffickers. Sadly, the pandemic’s impact on our most vulnerable communities has further exacerbated the rate of human trafficking cases,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “To combat this growing crime, we must continue to protect residents through prevention, prosecution and continued partnership with the NC Human Trafficking Commission and other state organizations that educate and serve as a resource to North Carolinians.” Human trafficking is a borderless crime that involves recruiting, harboring, transporting, buying or selling human beings for labor and/or services by means of force, fraud or coercion. It is a crime that deprives victims of human dignity and freedom, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, citizenship or socioeconomic status. Last year, state-funded sexual assault agencies helped 368 human trafficking survivors, according to data collected by the NCDOA Council for Women and Youth Involvement. The Council for Women and Youth Involvement focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration and improving identification of and response to human trafficking in marginalized, underserved and unserved communities. In recent years, the agency has helped to enact legislation mandating that trafficking prevention and awareness be included in the sexual health education curriculum and training on trafficking be provided to all public-school personnel. To raise awareness and show support, several state government buildings in downtown Raleigh will be illuminated in blue this week in tribute to survivors and victims of human trafficking. (A map to locate buildings participating in the blue light campaign can be viewed here.) From January 7 - 12, visitors can see blue lights on display at the State Capitol, Administration Building, Old Education Building and others. On January 11th, the department is encouraging state employees and others to wear blue and share selfies as part of the national #WearBlueDay campaign. If you believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement or call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BEFREE” to 233733. Find more information and resources about combatting human trafficking, see NCDOA’s web site. ### About NCDOA and the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement The N.C. Department of Administration acts as the business manager for North Carolina state government. Under the leadership of Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell, the department oversees government operations and advocacy programs. The department's advocacy programs help to promote and assist diverse segments of the state's population that have been traditionally underserved. NCDOA’s Council for Women and Youth Involvement division advises the governor, state legislators and state leaders on issues that impact women and youth.