TLR observes National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Julian Atkins
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

January marks National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time when communities and organizations across the United States, including Little Rock Air Force Base, recommit to raising awareness and combatting the pervasive issue of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation and coercion of individuals through force, fraud, or deception for the purpose of various forms of exploitation, such as forced labor, sexual exploitation, or involuntary servitude.

In 2010, then-President Barrack Obama officially designated January as "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month" through a presidential proclamation. Since that time, every president has continued this tradition annually, underscoring the ongoing commitment to raising awareness and combating human trafficking.

“More than 27 million people around the world endure the abhorrent abuse of human trafficking and forced labor, including thousands of people right here in the United States,” said President Joseph Biden during this year’s presidential proclamation. “It is a threat to global security, public safety, and human dignity.  During National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to ending these predatory crimes at home and across the globe.”

Recently, the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Human Services received a grant from the Office of Victims of Crime to establish the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council. The council is an Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking and includes a Multidisciplinary Team with members from Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, and the DHS.

“Little Rock AFB has a unique goal to collaborate and work with these outside agencies who are highly involved with combatting human trafficking throughout the state of Arkansas,” said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Harner, 19th Force Support Squadron base training manager and Combating Trafficking in Persons program manager. “The key is prevention, communication, and awareness to combat a well-known issue within the area of our control.”

To aid in our prevention efforts, below are some indicators of human trafficking to be aware of. Please note the following lists are not all-inclusive.

Physical and environmental indicators:

  • Signs of physical abuse (i.e., bruises, cuts, and/or broken bones)
  • Serious communicable diseases
  • Injuries from violence or hazardous work conditions 
  • No ID (i.e., passport and/or papers)
  • Escorted or closely monitored at all times
  • Someone speaks for them
  • Live or work in unsafe conditions
  • Live at or are confined to their worksite
  • Exposure to toxic or hazardous materials

Psychological and behavioral indicators:

  • Fearful
  • Submissive
  • Anxious
  • Angry
  • Aggressive, antagonistic, or defensive
  • Depressed
  • Substance abuse
  • Dependent on others
  • Unsure where they are

“Ultimately, human trafficking is destructive and harmful to humanity as a whole and joining forces will not only strengthen our numbers toward prevention, it may also help spread peace to individuals and families who might really need it,” Harner said.

The Combating Trafficking in Persons Program Management Office is the lead office responsible for coordinating the Department of Defense efforts to prevent human trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and assist in the protection of victims of human trafficking. To learn more about their mission and how you can help, visit

If you or a loved one need help or to report suspected human trafficking, call the 24/7 National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “help” to BeFree (233733). You can also contact the Department of Defense Hotline at 1-800-424-9098 or