- Become aware and educate yourself as to the facts and myths of human trafficking.
- Save the human trafficking hotline in your phone and post it on any social media that you use to inform others.
- Report suspected human trafficking activity by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or texting BeFree (233733). Call 911 in case of emergency.
- Place the human trafficking poster in your place of business, worship or leisure to spread awareness.
- Stop the demand for sexual and labor exploitation that constitutes the profit that drives human trafficking, i.e. buying sex, buying cheap labor. Educate boys and men about the harm of buying sex as it potentially supports the continued enslavement of human beings.
- Educate yourself on the warning signs and red flags of human trafficking.
- Support legislation that holds perpetrators accountable including traffickers and criminal buyers of commercial sexual activity. Support legislation that promotes dignity and enhanced services for victims.
- Support and encourage your local schools to educate their teachers, counselors, health providers and staff about this topic.
- Support and encourage your local schools to educate children about this topic so they can avoid the pitfalls or ask for help.
- Encourage your civic or faith based organizations to become educated and educate their members about human trafficking.
- Support community programs and providers that care for victims of human trafficking.
- Support victims of human trafficking through welcoming them into our communities and directing them to the professional resources available.
Human trafficking can happen in a variety of environments including cities, suburbs, and wealthy/low income areas. Even within the daily routines of community members, they often come by labor and sex trafficking situations and they don’t even know it. The majority of victims don’t self-identify that they are the victims and/or are not aware that they can receive help.
If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text to BeFree (233733) for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation. Click here to learn more about reporting potential human trafficking situations. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative.
- Are there bruises or other signs of physical abuse?
- Are there signs of psychological abuse?
- Is the person submissive or fearful?
- Is the person being controlled?
- Is the person being deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care, or other life necessities?
- Is the person allowed to be in public alone?
- Can the person freely contact friends or family?
- Is the person a minor engaged in commercial sex?
- Does a minor appear to be in a relationship with an older person?
- Does the person fear his or her employer?
- Does the person have identification?
- Does the person have limited or nonexistent ability to speak English?
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
- Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
- Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
- Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
- Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
- Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
- Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
- High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
- Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
- Avoids eye contact
- Lacks health care
- Appears malnourished
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
- Has few or no personal possessions
- Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
- Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
- Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
- Claims of just visiting and 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
- Loss of sense of time
- Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
Be Smart Online
Traffickers are reaching more victims and customers by recruiting and advertising online. Social media and internet enabled devices including cell phones have allowed traffickers to reach our children and vulnerable teens and adults. It has also allowed traffickers to expand the customer/demand base that increases the profit and fuels human trafficking.
The internet is the biggest platform that traffickers, criminal buyers ( johns) , and pimps use for purchasing and selling their victims in the United States. The women and children advertised online for commercial sex appear as if they are working independently, however more often than not, they are actually victims of human trafficking.
How can you protect yourself and your family?
- Don’t talk to unknown or unfamiliar people.
- Don’t post any personal information on your Facebook that you would not want strangers to see online.
- Don’t believe claims by disguised perpetrators that they are photographers, producers, and others who will make you famous.
- Don’t accept invitation to “parties” of anyone not in your trusted circle and always let a parent or friend know where you are going.
- Don’t be lured by lines commonly used to lure victims like “You’re pretty. You could make some money,” “I’m here for you”, “it is you and me against the world”, “just do this one thing for me so we can pay the bills”, “I’ll take care of you”.