Human Trafficking RED FLAGS

If someone exhibits some of these signs, it does not automatically indicate that the person is being trafficked or is a human trafficking victim. It is a cause for concern and further investigation though. 
  •  Malnourishment/Is not allowed to seek medical treatment
  • Has unexplained, untreated injuries or illnesses
  • Has persistent or untreated STIs, frequent abortions or miscarriages, or other reproductive issues
  • Tattoos or branding - usually located on the back of the neck, chest, or arm
    • ​Tattoos would appear more like ownership branding than art
  • Visible Abuse Marks
    • bruising​
    • cutting
    • weird scars
    • black eyes
    • broken bones
  • Not wearing appropriate clothing for the weather or their age
  • Unexplained purchase of brand name clothing & accessories
  • Has a much older partner
  • Appears overly fearful, anxious, or submissive
  • Tense, nervous, depressed
  • Does not make eye contact
  • Is hesitant to speak on his or her own behalf
  • Someone else speaks for them or won't let them talk [this person appears much older and controlling, and does not appear to be a parent]
    • Victim is calling this older, controlling individual "daddy"
  • Tells and communicates inconsistent, scripted, or vague explanations
  • Inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
  • Uses slang related to trafficking: "The Life", "The Game", "Quota", "Trick", "Pimp", refers to someone as "daddy" who is clearly not their dad or appears to be a boyfriend.
  • Victims are unaware of their rights – many victims have been trained to not trust and fear law enforcement [or any figure in authority other than their pimp/boyfriend]. Behavior would be terrified and uncooperative.
  • Bed wetting suddenly
  • Bed wetting from an older adolescent, maybe a teenager.
  • A lot of behaviors [cutting, drinking, eating disorders, suicide attempts, etc.] are normal reactions to abnormal traumatic or abusive experiences or situations.
  • Is not able to leave their job
  • Is required to work unusually long and/or unusual hours
  • Is unpaid or paid very little
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers unusual restrictions
  • Owes a large debt they cannot pay off
  • Is working under different conditions than initially promised
  • Unusually high security measures exist in the work location
Living Conditions:
  • Is living at worksite 
  • Lives in overcrowded group housing
  • Rent, food, and other essentials are deducted from pay
  • Rooms have numerous beds/mattresses on the floor
  • Sleep arrangements are inadequate, make-shift
  • Locks on the outside of bedrooms or odd locks to be in a home [pad locks]
  • Locks on windows [keeping people from coming in and getting out]
  • Is not free to come and go as he/she wishes
  • Unreasonable security measures [bars on windows, locks everywhere, barbed wire, tons of security cameras]
Other Red Flags:​
  • Is not in control of his or her own identification, travel documents, or money
  • Excessive amounts of cash
  • False ID
  • Has more than one cell phone
  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not free to come and go as they please
  • Is under the age of 18 and providing commercial sex act(s)
  • A lot of domestic disputes are actually a trafficking situation.
Some other red flags, that we don't realize are red flags, are when we label our youth. We see a lot of youth as "rebellious", "shy", or "just trying to find their way". Saying things like, "they'll grow out of it", or whatever other label you want to give them for acting the way they are... When in reality, they are vulnerable, hurting individuals. They are at-risk youth in our community!