Raleigh Jan 9, 2023 Governor Roy Cooper declared January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to bring attention to this growing crime and highlight ways North Carolinians can identify and help victims. In 2021, North Carolina ranked 12th nationally for reported human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and has consistently ranked within the top 15 in the country for human trafficking within the past five years. “Human trafficking happens more frequently than we know, and sadly many cases go unreported each year,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “To help fight human trafficking in North Carolina, we must remain active in educating our communities on potential warning signs and continue to form partnerships with the NC Human Trafficking Commission and other state organizations. Continued prevention through education and prosecution to protect our most vulnerable residents are key to combatting this issue.” Human trafficking is a borderless crime that involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, buying or selling of 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. In 2021, 223 cases of trafficking in North Carolina were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Additionally, state-funded victim service agencies in North Carolina reported serving 392 human trafficking survivors during fiscal year 2021-2022. The NC Department of Administration’s (DOA) Council for Women and Youth Involvement works with other state partners to coordinate anti-human trafficking outreach, training and resources. 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 provided to all public-school personnel. To raise awareness and show support, several state government buildings in downtown Raleigh will be illuminated in blue for several days 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 9-11, visitors can see blue lights on display at the State Capitol, Administration Building, Old Education Building and others. On January 11, people are encouraged to wear blue and share selfies as part of the national #endhumantrafficking campaign. If you believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BEFREE” to 233733. Contact local law enforcement only if someone is in immediate danger. Find more information and resources about combatting human trafficking on DOA’s website. 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.