Human Trafficking Facts

What is human trafficking? - Human trafficking is the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

Potential Trafficking Indicators

The following is a list of red flags to keep in mind when indicating a potential situation of a victim of human trafficking. This list is intended to encompass transnational and domestic trafficking, as well as both sex and labor trafficking. Some indicators may be more strongly associated with one type of trafficking. 

Common Work & Living Conditions. The individual(s) in question:

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 years of age 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 as work
  • Owes a large and/or increasing debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work 
  • Is living or working in a location with high security measures

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior. The individual(s) in question:

  • Exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous behavior
  • Reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to "law enforcement" 
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Exhibits a flat affect

Poor Physical Health. The individual(s) in question:

  • Exhibits unexplained injuries or signs of prolonged/untreated illness or disease
  • Appears malnourished 
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control. The individual(s) in question:

  •  Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, and/or has no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (e.g. ID, passport, or visa)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for him/herself (e.g., a third party may insist on being present and/or interpreting)
  • Has an attorney that he/she doesn’t seem to know or to have agreed to receive representation services from 

Other. The individual(s) in question:

  • Has been branded be a trafficker
  • Exhibits a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or does not know what city he/she is in
  • Exhibits a loss of a sense of time 
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
  • Claims to be "just visiting" and is unable to clarify where he/she is staying or provide an address