Identify Those At Risk

There are numerous red flags which could indicate trafficking is taking place. By identifying those at risk, and reporting possible incidents of human trafficking, you might end unimaginable suffering or even save the life of a victim. The following lists will help you recognize red flags:

Indicators Shared by Both Labor and Sex Trafficking Victims

  • Lives at Workplace
  • Receives No Breaks At Work
  • Appears to Lack Medical Care
  • Speaks of Travel to Other Cities
  • Few or No Personal Possessions
  • Expresses a Need to Pay Off Debt
  • Shows Markings Left By Restraints
  • Works Under Unusual Restrictions
  • Downplay of Existing Health Problems
  • Not Aware of Current City, Time or Date
  • Submissive, Nervous, Paranoid, Withdrawn or Tense
  • School Age Children and Teens Not Enrolled in School
  • Appears to Be Hungry, Malnourished or Sleep Deprived
  • Resistant to Touch, Avoids Eye Contact or Lies About Age
  • Answers to Questions Seem Coached, Rehearsed or Inconsistent
  • Child Restricted from Contacting Family, Friends or Legal Guardian
  • Suffers from Marked Depression, Anxiety or Fear/Alludes to Suicide
  • Lacks Control Over–or Carries Fraudulent–Identification or Travel Documents
  • Shows Signs of Physical Abuse Including Scars, Burns, Broken Teeth, Cuts or Bruises
  • Visible Security Measures in Home or Workplace including Cameras, Barred Windows, Etc.
  • Not Allowed, or Unable, to Speak for Self (May Be Mute or Forced to Use a Translator)
  • Fearful of Social Services, Law Enforcement or Immigration Services
  • Issues With Drug Addiction (Drugs May Be Used to Lure or Control)
  • Constant Presence of Another Individual/Is Never Left Alone
  • Fears Returning to Family and/or Retribution from Trafficker
  • Recruited for Different Work Than Is Actually Performing
  • Expresses Concern for Safety of Family Members
  • Works Excessive Hours with Little or No Pay
  • Has No Access to Personal Bank Accounts
  • Not Able To Come and Go as They Please
  • Not Biological Child of “Parent” in Home
  • Excluded from Family and Social Events
  • No Evidence of Legal Guardian
  • Self-Harming Behaviors

Red Flags Specific to Labor Trafficking Victims

  • Forced to Sell Goods on the Streets
  • Responsible for Childcare, Eldercare or Housework
  • Does Not Have Protective Gear for Hazardous Work

Red Flags Primarily Seen in Sex Trafficking Cases

  • Branded or Tattooed
  • Possesses Items Can’t Afford
  • Sexually Provocative Clothing
  • Acts Uncharacteristically Promiscuous
  • Has an Online Profile Sexual in Nature
  • Gang Involvement–Especially Among Girls
  • Boyfriend or Girlfriend Much Older Than Them
  • Inappropriately Dressed for Weather Conditions or Venue
  • Speaks Limited English, But Uses Many Sex-Related English Terms
  • Appearance of Unexplained Gifts (Clothing, Cell Phones, Electronics or Other)
  • Possesses Sexual Knowledge Beyond What is Normal for Their Age
  • Uses Slang Terms Such As “Daddy,” “John,” “Trick” or “The Life”
  • Repeated Phone Calls from a Controlling “Boyfriend”
  • Under 18 and Providing Commercial Sex Acts
  • Carries Excessive Amounts of Cash
  • Family Dysfunction or Abuse
  • Change in Personal Hygiene

Red Flags Often Observed by Educators

  • Truancy Issues
  • Frequent Tardiness
  • History of Running Away
  • Reports History of Multiple Schools
  • Shows Lack of Interest in Previous Activities
  • Misses School During Harvest Season
  • Stops Attending School Events
  • Academically Unengaged

Red Flags Often Observed by Healthcare Workers

  • Blunt Force Trauma
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Mutilation Caused by Torture
  • Fractured or Broken Bones and Teeth
  • Lacks Insurance But Pays in Cash
  • Unexplained Memory Loss

Labor Trafficking

  • Accidental Injuries Caused by Fatigue
  • Evidence of a Prolonged, Though Easily Treatable, Infection
  • Respiratory Problems, Hearing Loss or Impaired Eyesight Caused by Poor Working Conditions
  • Limbs Lost to Frostbite or Heatstroke Triggered by Harsh Climates

Sex Trafficking

  • Genitourinary Issues
  • Retained Foreign Bodies
  • Anal or Other Sexual Trauma
  • Lists Excessive Number of Sexual Partners
  • Multiple or Frequent Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Unusual Scar Tissue Indicating Forced Abortions
  • Multiple or Frequent Pregnancies

These red flags do not always indicate an incident of human trafficking. However, if you notice a combination of indicators, or feel uneasy about a situation, contact authorities. Law enforcement are experts at deciphering troubling situations and handling unforeseen danger.