Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:
- How do you get by? Who do you depend on since you’ve been away from home/on the street?
- How did you meet this person(s)/your boyfriend/etc.?
- Has this person ever pressured you to do something you weren’t comfortable doing?
- Have you ever exchanged sex for food, a place to stay or other things you needed?
- Are you required to earn a certain amount of money/meet a quota for this person?
- Have you ever been abused (physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally, etc.) or threatened by this person?
- Do you have to stay in the same place with other people who work for this person? What are the conditions like? Where do you sleep and eat?
- Has this person ever introduced you to hard drugs/prescription medication?
- Do you owe a debt to this person? Where did the debt come from?
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
- Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
- Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- 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?
- Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
To get help, report a tip or request information, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or
text BeFree (233733).
You may also call or text our local 24/7 hotline at 607-742-9629.