There is a nexus between natural disasters and increases in both labor and sex trafficking of displaced people and relief workers. The Mayor’s Office is proactively taking steps to mitigate the potential impact disasters have on human trafficking by developing a short- and long-term disaster response that can serve as a model for future disasters. Our response includes preventative direct outreach in disaster shelters and consular and corporate engagement long after the disaster. The materials included in the Toolkit were used by the Houston Mayor’s Office during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.


This Toolkit includes research on post-Katrina labor trafficking cases, multi-lingual materials for direct outreach with displaced and vulnerable populations, customized messages to post on social media covering labor and sex trafficking, and Watch for Traffick signs for billboards and taxis that draw attention to the link between natural disasters and human trafficking.

What’s Included

  • What is Human Trafficking? PowerPoint Slide to Display in Shelter Settings (PDF and PPT)
  • Excerpt from Shelter Newsletter on Vulnerability of Displaced People (PDF)
  • “Cot Notes” – Emergency Disaster Response Palm Cards (PDF and InDesign) – 1st version: English, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, and Hindi; 2nd version: English, French, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Thai
  • Social Media Messages (JPEG)
  • Planning Materials to Launch a Collaborative Social Media Campaign – Campaign Guide, Delivery Budget and Designs Packet, Website Landing Page, and Message Content and Strategy Document (PDF)
  • Signs to Display on Taxis in English (PDF)
  • 10.5’ x 22.8’ Outdoor Signs in English (PDF)
  • 14’ x 48’ Outdoor Signs in English and Spanish (PDF)
  • Post-Katrina Labor Trafficking Case Studies (PDF)
  • Fact sheets and presentations for consular and corporate education highlighting risk management issues for businesses and exploitation risks to citizens of other countries resulting from recovery efforts.

If you encounter any issues viewing the social media JPEGs, please first extract the files from the zip file. To extract the files, right click on the zip file, and select “Extract All.” For additional assistance or questions, please contact us at, and we will respond within two (2) business days.

Guidelines for Responsible Use

Use the Emergency Disaster Response Toolkit in a responsible fashion by following the below guidelines:

  1. We respectfully ask that you do not represent yourself as a City of Houston or Houston Mayor’s Office employee when using the Toolkit’s information and resources.
  2. The documents contained in the Emergency Disaster Response Toolkit are not meant to serve as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
  3. Many of the resources in the Toolkit are Houston-specific, such as several of the helplines displayed in the palm cards. Before using these resources, make sure to adapt them to your area, and ensure local helplines have the capacity to respond.
  4. Time is of the essence when responding to an emergency disaster. Plan ahead, even if no disaster is on the horizon, by developing protocols and procedures and coordinating in advance with partners and potential stakeholders. As part of the planning process, you may need to raise awareness of the link between emergency disasters and human trafficking.
  5. Consider how to best coordinate your efforts to implement a comprehensive trafficking response in the wake of an emergency disaster. The Mayor of Houston has a dedicated Special Advisor on Human Trafficking, who managed Houston’s trafficking response to Hurricane Harvey.
  6. Be aware of the disaster shelter landscape in your area and how best to use the Toolkit’s resources. Conducting cot-to-cot outreach and distributing outreach materials requires thorough planning, collaborating with stakeholders to gain access to shelters, engaging in safety planning, and leveraging partner organizations for volunteer support.