Our mission

The Yellow Butterfly Project (YBP) is a project consisting of supporting, coordinating, and documenting efforts to increase awareness, education, and student engagement about human trafficking by developing a Positive Youth Development (PYD) environment with an emphasis on Character Education (CE).

The goal of the YBP is to train students and educators on human trafficking and to facilitate groups who will engage in multi-disciplinary and project-oriented activities. A group will, ideally, consist of members with experience in different areas, such as media, psychology, public relations, public health, criminology, marketing, visual and auditory artists, social work, and entrepreneurship.


What is Human Trafficking?

  • “Human trafficking” and “trafficking in persons” are terms commonly used wherein victims are forced or otherwise coerced or deceived into manual or sexual labor across state and international borders.    
  • According to the U.S. State Department’s 2011 “Trafficking in Persons Report,” major forms of trafficking include forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking.

Human Trafficking Worldwide:

  • The International Labour Organization estimated in 2012 that children represented 26 percent (or 5.5 million) of the 20.9 million victims worldwide. Almost 20 percent of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100 percent in parts of West Africa, according to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report).
  • Although anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, reports show that the most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation (79 percent). The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and young girls. In 30 percent of the countries that provided demographic data, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers, as well. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.

Human Trafficking in the United States:

  • Both U.S. citizens and foreign national children are trafficked for sex and labor in the United States, according to a U.S. State Department 2013 report. In fact, many child victims of human trafficking are students in the American school system.
  • While cases of child trafficking are being reported in communities throughout the nation, school administrators and staff need to be aware of student enrollments and home situations to address this issue.

Human Trafficking in the St. Louis Area:

  • Locally, a comprehensive study of homeless youth in St. Louis has found that this demographic is at high risk for sex trafficking — with fifteen percent reporting that they had been victims. An additional 3 percent report being forced into dealing drugs as youths, a form of labor trafficking.
  • The numbers are even higher when it comes to LGBTQ youth. Nearly 40 percent of homeless gay and lesbian youths in St. Louis said that they had been victims of sex trafficking, according to a study conducted by Loyola University New Orleans' Modern Slavery Research Project.
  • Teens who had been in the foster care system were particularly at risk. Though they comprised 21 percent of those surveyed, they accounted for 29 percent of all sex trafficking victims in the Loyola study. And a study done by Heil and Nichols, reported in their “Human Trafficking in the Midwest” shows a disproportionate number of victims in the St. Louis area who were addressed in federally prosecuted cases were young, African American females

Goals of the Yellow Butterfly Project:

  • Networking with key authorities, organizations (governmental or NGOs), and individuals at local and national levels
  • Networking with departments and faculty across the Lindenwood University campus
  • Facilitating trainings for student and faculty volunteers
  • Coordinating with faculty and students working on their own module/unit
  • Creating a website to advertise, coordinate, and document the activities completed around campus
  • Creating a Facebook platform to educate educators at the K-12 level regarding human trafficking
  • Organizing a one-day conference in Fall 2018 to showcase the accomplished activities



Please contact us regarding any questions. We care.