Signs of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is pervasive all around the world and in all 50 states.  Some of the common traits seen in adult and child victims of human trafficking might include:

  • Appearing malnourished or lacking health care
  • Showing signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
  • Appearing unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Controlled/restricted communication with others
  • Claims of ‘just visiting’ and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or not knowing what city he/she is in
  • Few or no personal belongings
  • Suspicious jewelry or tattoos showing “branding”
  • Has a noticeably older “boyfriend” (10+ years)
  • Engaged in sexual situations beyond age-specific norms
  • Chronic running away from home or foster home
  • Many unexplained absences from school
  • Several cell phones, prepaid phones, hotel keys, expensive gifts

This list is by no means exhaustive and not all trafficking victims will display the same characteristics. If you live in the US and think you know a trafficking victim:

Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 to anonymously report a tip.

The hotline is available 24/7, in over 200 languages, and will connect you to anti-trafficking services in your area. We strongly encourage you to put this number into your cell phone to have on hand when necessary.


Text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733)