What are the signs of human trafficking?

 

There are things anyone can be on the lookout for in order to help identify victims of trafficking. Here are some common signs found across different groups.

Human Trafficking In School:

  • Does the student suddenly seem disconnected from family, friends, and activities?
  • Has the student stopped attending school or gone missing for weeks at a time?
  • Has the student had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior or grades?
  • Does the student suddenly have expensive new items without a new job or public change in financial circumstances?
  • Does the student seem fearful when receiving a text or call?
  • Does the student fall asleep regularly in school in the afternoons?
  • Does the student have nicely memorized answers or conversely, seem confused or skittish to answer simple questions about their behavior?
  • Are the student’s friends concerned?
  • Is the student posting alarming social media postings?
  • Is the student “dating” an older person? How much older?

Human Trafficking in Encounters with Youth (interviews, arrests, youth agencies with intake, etc.):

  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts or high-risk sexual behavior?
  • Has the youth engaged in survival sex (trading sex for basic needs and/or drugs)?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Does the youth have tattoos? How do they act when questioned about them?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Human Trafficking in Interactions with Adults:

  • Is a person engaged in commercial sex acts or high-risk sexual behavior?
  • Has the person engaged in survival sex (trading sex for basic needs and/or drugs)?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Does the person have tattoos? How do they act when questioned about them?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?