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Knowing how to spot sex and human trafficking is often difficult. Traffickers go out of their way to try to avoid detection, misleading members of the communities where they recruit and harbor their victims and operate their rings. In many cases, people may come into contact with victims of sex and human trafficking regularly in […]

How To Spot Sex And Human Trafficking Understanding how to spot sex and human trafficking may help you report possible trafficking activity, prevent yourself or a loved one from becoming a victim, or help you recognize your own vulnerabilities.

Knowing how to spot sex and human trafficking is often difficult. Traffickers go out of their way to try to avoid detection, misleading members of the communities where they recruit and harbor their victims and operate their rings. In many cases, people may come into contact with victims of sex and human trafficking regularly in their community and have no idea.

In some cases, though, there are subtle signs you may be able to pick up on that could indicate the person is a victim of human and sex trafficking. If you spot several of these signs, report your suspicions to the police or reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline for guidance.

Spotting Indicators of Human Trafficking

If you recognize several of these indicators of human trafficking, the woman or teen may be a victim of a trafficker. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the signs of human trafficking may include:

  • Appearing anxious, tense, nervous, or paranoid
  • Acting fearful, depressed, and especially submissive
  • Heightened fear if you mention law enforcement
  • Does not make eye contact even when addressed
  • Is very underweight and may appear pale and unwell
  • Has signs of physical restraint or abuse such as bruising and marks on the wrists
  • Has few personal possessions and may not have any identifying documents such as ID or passport
  • Do not know where they are and cannot give an address where they are staying; they may ask the name of the country, state, or city
  • Do not know the date, time of day, or time of year
  • There is someone else who insists on always being present
  • Another person has an excuse for always accompanying the possible victim, such as acting as a translator

It is not always easy to identify cases of sex and human trafficking. Not all of these indicators are present in a given human trafficking situation, and, in fact, none of them could be. Alternatively, there are other valid reasons some of these indicators could occur outside of a human trafficking situation.

Take Action If You Spot Signs of Sex and Human Trafficking

While it is important to act immediately if you believe someone is a victim of sex and human trafficking, you should never attempt to confront a possible trafficker on your own or alert the individual that you believe they are a victim of human trafficking. There is too much that can go wrong that would put your life, the life of the victim, the lives of other victims, and the safety of the general public at risk.

Instead, you should contact local law enforcement who can enlist the help of state or federal teams trained to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking. You can also reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline’s Resource Center. This is possible by:

The Hotline has trained staff who know how to spot human trafficking, can help you get a better understanding of the possible indicators you witnessed, suggest resources local to you for helping victims of human trafficking, and inform you how to report what you saw to law enforcement.

Talk to an Attorney From Newsome Melton About Your Case

An attorney from Newsome Melton may be able to help you with your case if you were a victim of a sex or human trafficker. We go after the businesses that enable these industries, such as hotels and truck stops. We have decades of experience helping our clients find justice through compassion and strength. We can offer the support and guidance you need both in and out of the courtroom, even when you are in the most complex civil litigation.

Call (888) 808-5977 for your free consultation with a member of our team.

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