Yahoo Joins with Polaris Project to Provide Users with Resources on Reporting Instances of Human Trafficking

Yahoo! has been a longtime industry leader in online safety. Fostering safer online experiences continues to be one of Yahoo!’s primary concerns, particularly as the Internet plays a larger role in the everyday life of children. As kids spend more and more time online, searching for help with schoolwork or just staying in touch with friends, parents and educators are also looking for new tools and resources to protect children from online harm. As part of Yahoo!’s commitment to protecting children online, we collaborate with child safety advocates and law enforcement, including an on-going, multi-faceted partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Ten years ago Yahoo! collaborated with NCMEC to help disseminate AMBER alerts to Yahoo!’s powerful network of millions of people around the world. The AMBER Alert program has been credited with the safe recovery of 525 children nationwide.

Recently, we announced our latest initiative in providing our users with additional online safety resources. Working with the Polaris Project and the Office of the California Attorneys General, we now provide information directing users to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) when users search for certain terms associated with human trafficking. Users will be given contact information for NHTRC which is operated by the Polaris Project. The NHTRC hotline is the single most effective national resource to identify and support victims of trafficking. This national, toll-free, victim-centered hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the U.S., 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and in more than 170 languages. Trained call specialists are on constant standby to link human trafficking victims to shelter and other resources that provide safety and protection. The hotline also fields tips of suspected human trafficking cases and provides information, training and technical assistance to diverse audiences. THE NHRTC has been extremely successful in helping victims and law enforcement:

  • The national human trafficking hotline has received more than 53,000 calls nationwide and 5,650 calls from California, since Polaris Project began operating it in December 2007.
  • The hotline has connected almost 6,200 trafficking victims to services across the country.
  • The hotline receives more calls from California than any other state.
  • In 2011, almost 20% of callers nationwide who reported potential human trafficking cases found the hotline number through an Internet search.

Unfortunately, the Internet is not immune from crime that has traditionally occurred in the offline world. But at Yahoo! we will continue to take steps to address online crime by providing information and resources to our users, and by coordinating with law enforcement and groups like Polaris to help bring predators to justice.

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