Promising Practices in Public Awareness and Outreach

Fact Sheet
Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
July 27, 2015


Raising awareness helps to combat modern slavery. Effective awareness and outreach efforts can help prevent human trafficking, lead to the identification and protection of trafficking victims, and build public support for governments and communities to take action.

These promising practices can enhance public awareness and outreach efforts:

TIP: Be sure to involve the general public in awareness activities. Anyone from a neighbor, to a store owner or taxi driver may come into contact with a trafficking victim. Everyone should be able to recognize the indicators of human trafficking and know how to get help.

Identify the target audience. Public awareness and outreach activities should be designed for a specific audience, which can range from populations vulnerable to trafficking to businesses and the general public. Identify who the target audience will be and whether more than one audience could be included.

Tailor activities and messaging to reach the target audience. Select activities that are applicable to the target audience and will engage that community. The target audience’s culture, traditions, and practices should shape the design and implementation of activities, and all materials should be translated into appropriate languages. Employ technology and social media and consider using a familiar spokesperson.

Develop a clear message. The message should be simple and easy to understand, relate to the target audience, and include the definition of human trafficking. Be sure to address all forms of human trafficking and incorporate input from relevant stakeholders, including advocates, government officials, civil society, and especially survivors.

Include a call to action and provide resources. The call to action should direct the target audience to resources such as a hotline, website, local organization, or government agency for help. These resources can provide critical information on what to do if someone is a trafficking victim, encounters a potential victim, or may be vulnerable to trafficking. Ensure any organizations included in the message are prepared and ready to respond.

Incorporate survivors. Survivors play a critical role in raising awareness and understanding about human trafficking; some survivors choose to become anti-trafficking advocates and spokespersons. Interested survivors should be given opportunities to provide input to help shape the design, development, and content of awareness activities. Consider incorporating survivor feedback anonymously and be sure to protect the confidentiality and safety of any survivor involved.

Build partnerships. Develop partnerships with organizations, government agencies, and the private sector to increase the impact and reach of awareness efforts. Partners can help develop and coordinate various activities, provide insight and expertise, and spread the message.

Sustain outreach activities. Beyond targeted activities or a specific campaign, general awareness and outreach about human trafficking should continue. Take the necessary steps to integrate anti-trafficking awareness into all aspects of a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking and be sure to evaluate the impact of activities and revise and modify as needed.

Common Awareness Activities Include:

  • Media and public service announcements (PSAs) through radio, television, and print outlets (newspapers, billboards, public transportation)
  • Distribution of public awareness materials (brochures, cards, posters, fact sheets)
  • Community-based forums (theatre groups, local governance committees, listening sessions)
  • Presentations at conferences, trainings, and workshops
  • Events (concerts, awareness talks, film screenings)
Combine different types of activities to reach as many sectors of society as possible.