How to identify a human trafficking victim

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Warning signs of human trafficking
Warning signs of human trafficking

Would you know how to spot a human trafficking victim?

While each victim is different, there are some common characteristics seen by law enforcement when interacting with them.

If you see any of these red flags, do not share your concerns with the possible victim or approach any suspected human trafficker. Call police instead.

Consider how the person is living and working

  • Is the person free to come and go at home?
  • Is the person under 18 and engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Does the person have a pimp or manager?
  • Is the person paid very little or not paid at all?
  • Does this person work long or unusual hours?
  • Are breaks allowed for this person?
  • Does this person owe a large debt and is unable to pay it off?
  • Were they recruited through false promises?
  • Do they live at a highly-secured home?

Look for signs of poor mental health or behavior

  • Are they seemingly depressed, afraid, or anxious?
  • Does the mention of police make them fearful?
  • Do they avoid eye contact?

Pay attention to their physical health

  • Do they lack health care?
  • Are they malnourished?
  • Can you see signs of physical or sexual abuse?

Are they in control of their life?

  • Do they have possessions of their own?
  • Do they lack money or a bank account?
  • Do they have their own government ID?
  • Are they allowed to speak for themselves?

Other things to look for:

  • Do they claim to be "just visiting"?
  • Are they aware of where they are?
  • Do they seem to have a lost sense of time?
  • Are their stories inconsistent?