How to tell if someone is a victim of trafficking

Posted: May 30, 2015 in Human Trafficking Is...
Tags: , , , , , ,
A brief overview

When most people hear the words slavery or human trafficking they usually think of sexual exploitation (prostitution, brothels, strippers, pornography, or sex tourism). While sexual exploitation is prevalent, it is not the only kind of exploitation. Here is a list of other types of slavery and human trafficking that are taking place in the world today followed by a list of signs to be on the lookout for.

Labor trafficking: includes restaurant workers, servers, street vendors, farmhands, construction garment workers, domestic servants, nannies, and manufacturers.

Peddling/Panhandling/Forced Begging

Organ Trafficking: buying and selling of human organs

Child Soldiers: children taken from their families and forced to be used as combatants or support personnel (mostly in Africa and the Middle East)

Babies and Children for Adoption (originates mostly in China)

I believe it is our duty as citizens to learn the signs of a potential trafficking victim, to be aware of the people around us and be ready to step in and help a fellow human being out of a life of bondage. Here is a partial list of typical victim behaviors compiled by the Polaris Project (

  • 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.)

If you need help or suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline or your local police department.

1-888-3737-888 or text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733)

  1. […] Human trafficking includes sex trafficking (prostitution, pornography, working at brothels, stripping, and sex tourism), labor trafficking (restaurant workers, farm hands, street vendors, garment workers, domestic servants, nannies and manufacturers), organ trafficking (buying and selling of human organs on the black market), illegal adoptions, forced begging, and child soldiers. […]


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