Safe Harbor Real Talk about Human Trafficking and Exploitation

Real Talk about Human Trafficking and Exploitation

Human trafficking and exploitation are complicated issues. Below you will find tips for telling the difference between true trafficking stories and false ones. Safe Harbor Regional Navigators are available if you want to connect with an experienced professional. They have in-depth understanding of trafficking and exploitation at a community level.

To learn more about community impact, request a presentation, or for additional support and resources, connect with a navigator in your area.

“Thank you for caring. We hope you find the resources useful. We look forward to hearing from you.”—Regional Navigators

Myth or truth

Visit Human Trafficking Myth or Truth to see what do you know about human trafficking and exploitation?

Human trafficking in Minnesota frequently asked questions (FAQs)

It is normal to have some questions about human trafficking. Visit Human Trafficking in Minnesota Frequently Asked Questions for some commonly asked questions. After you review, consider sharing this resource in your networks.

Concerning situations

Traffickers and exploiters are really good at deceiving people and manipulation. Here are a few situations that may raise concerns:

  • A would-be employer collects fees from a potential worker for the ‘opportunity’ to work in a particular job.
  • A youth is involved in a fast-moving, overwhelming romantic relationship with someone who may be much older.
  • A young person with an unstable living environment is staying with people who are not a friend, guardian, or parent.
  • A person is asked to share information with someone they have never connected with or contacted on social media.

Tips for telling the difference between true trafficking stories and false ones

A lot of false and misleading information is circulating about trafficking and exploitation. Conspiracy theories especially misrepresent the experiences of many human trafficking survivors. It harms survivors by causing them to be overlooked, further isolated, and not believed. Misleading information also helps traffickers and exploiters to remain undetected because people are looking for the wrong signs.

Consider the following situations:

  • A social media stream has several posts about people being trafficked by companies that ship packages.
  • At a family gathering someone shares how there is a trafficking ring in the nearby pizza chain.  
  • On a neighborhood social media feed multiple posts warn: watch your kids extra close because a suspicious van is driving around trying to abduct kids.

Before trusting this information, ask yourself:

  • Who is the original author? Do you even know?
  • Could it be a sensationalized or exaggerated story?
  • Does the story match what you know is common and true about human trafficking?
  • Are some survivors being overlooked?
  • Are kernels of truth being taken out of context?
  • Is it a credible information source? What makes it credible?
  • Statistics are often misleading. Are these statistics from a reliable source?

Making a difference: For every survivor who has not yet been seen, heard, or identified

Trafficking and exploitation are complex issues. Often people aren’t sure about what to do or if it will even make a difference. The good news is that everyday actions do matter. Consider how to:

  • Raise awareness by engaging in real talk about trafficking and exploitation.
  • Learn how historical and societal harms contribute to some groups of people being impacted more than others.
  • Believe and support victims/survivors. One way to do this is to acknowledge people’s culture, identity, and beliefs.
  • Support community-based service providers that provide direct victim services.

Everyday actions matter


After hearing a Regional Navigator presentation, you read a sensationalized social media post about trafficking. You thoughtfully respond with the accurate information you learned at the presentation.

You listen with empathy and care. People in your life know you are a supportive person.

As a parent you regularly discuss online safety and normalize conversations about healthy relationship and work environments with your kids. They are comfortable sharing with you when something doesn’t feel right.

You take the time to learn more from credible sources.

For more ideas connect with a Regional Navigator

If you or someone you know is being sexual exploited or trafficked, please contact your Regional Navigator or contact the Day One Hotline to learn more about services available in your community at 1-866-223-1111.

For more information on Safe Harbor, contact Caroline Palmer, Safe Harbor Director, at or 651-201-5492.

Updated Wednesday, 23-Mar-2022 12:31:50 CDT