How to Spot a Human Trafficking Victim

Aug 28, 2017

Human trafficking happens every day in every neighborhood, and there are ways you can combat it.

There are indicators that a person may be a victim of human trafficking:

  • The person is under age 18 and is involved in the commercial sex industry.
  • The person has unexplained bruises, black eyes, cuts or marks.
  • The person shows evidence of being in a controlling relationship.
  • The person is in a relationship with an adult, or expresses and interest in relationships with adults.
  • The person uses language from “the life” such as referring to a boyfriend as “Daddy.”
  • The person has a tattoo that he/she is reluctant to explain.
  • The person keeps unusual hours.
  • The person is doesn’t have control of his/her own money or identification.
  • The person wears new clothes, gets hair/nails done, has new expensive items but has no financial means to afford these things.
  • The person is secretive about his/her whereabouts.
  • The person has untreated illnesses or infections – especially sexually transmitted diseases.

If you think you may know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, call The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT program 24-hour resource hotline at 877.606.3158, 911 or your local police department. A Salvation Army STOP-IT outreach worker can provide further assistance for you and the victim.

When speaking with a potential victim, please make sure you:

  • Talk with the person in a provide, safe and confident environment.
  • Do not conduct an in-depth interview. Obtain only the information you need in order to get additional help.
  • Do not make promises you can’t keep – such as promising everything will be ok.
  • Do not attempt to “rescue” the person on your own – reach out to The Salvation Army STOP-IT program or police.

For more information on human trafficking and how you can combat it, call 877.275.6233.


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