An increase in awareness may be behind an increase in reported human trafficking cases. According to an annual report by Polaris, the number of reports received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textlines increased by 13% nationwide last year. That includes 144 cases reported in Missouri, up slightly from 139 reported in 2016. Polaris, the company that operates the hotline, says the data does not necessarily reflect the scope of actual trafficking cases and merely represents figures on the number of received reports. Those reports could include multiple tips on the same cases or reports that include multiple victims. Last year those reports resulted in identification of nearly 5,000 suspected traffickers and nearly 2000 businesses suspected of facilitating trafficking. Over 2900 cases resulted in reports to law enforcement.