Learn about the possible signs of human trafficking

A21 provides the following list on their website of tips to help spot victims of human trafficking:

  • They are accompanied by a controlling person, and does not speak on his or her own behalf, but instead defers to another person.
  • They are transported to or from work, or lives and works at the same place.
  • They are unable to keep his or her earnings: it is “withheld for safe-keeping.” In many cases, the person owes a debt they are working to pay off.
  • They have recently arrived in the country and do not speak the language of the country, or they only know sex-related or labor-related words.
  • They are frightened to talk to outsiders and authorities, since they are closely monitored and controlled by their trafficker(s). They may be fearful, depressed, and overly submissive.
  • They may have signs of abuse, and a person may show signs of being denied food, water, sleep, and/or medical care.
  • They may have bruises, scars, and other signs of physical abuse and torture.
  • Victims of human trafficking are often beaten in areas that will not damage their appearance–such as their lower back.
  • They can be coerced into drug use by his or her traffickers, or turns to substance abuse to help cope with his or her enslavement.
  • They may be distrustful and suspicious. A victim of human trafficking may act as if they distrust any person who offers them assistance or attempts to converse with them.
  • They may have a cell phone despite a lack of other basic belongings.
  • They may demonstrate affection towards abuser. It is possible they have developed Stockholm Syndrome, where kidnapped victims, over time, become sympathetic to their captors.

Report any suspected cases of human trafficking to
he National Human Trafficking Hotline:




Watch a TED TALK on how to spot victims of human trafficking and modern slavery:



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