Human Trafficking Indicators

Victims of trafficking in humans can be found in a variety of situations.  You can play a role in identifying such victims.

General Indicators

People who have been trafficked may:

  • Believe that they must work against their will
  • Be unable to leave their work environment
  • Feel that they cannot leave
  • Show signs that their movements are being controlled
  • Show fear or anxiety
  • Be subjected to violence or threats of violence against themselves or against their family members and loved ones
  • Suffer injuries that appear to be the result of the application of control measures
  • Suffer injuries that or impairments typical of certain jobs or control measures
  • Be distrustful of the authorities
  • Be threatened with being handed over to the authorities
  • Be afraid of revealing their immigration status
  • Not be in the possession of their passport or other travel identity documents, as those documents are being held by someone else
  • Have false identity or travel documents
  • Be found in or connected to a type of location likely to be used for exploiting people
  • Be unfamiliar with the local language
  • Not know their homes or work addresses
  • Allow others to speak for them when addressed directly
  • Act as if they were instructed by someone else
  • Be forced to work under certain conditions
  • Be disciplined through punishment
  • Be unable to negotiate working conditions
  • Receive little or no payment
  • Have no access to their earnings
  • Work excessively long hours over long periods
  • Not have any days off
  • Live in poor or substandard accommodations
  • Have no access to medical care
  • Have limited or no social interaction
  • Have limited contact with their families or with people outside of their immediate environment
  • Be unable to communicate freely with others
  • Be under the perception that they are bonded by debt
  • Be in a situation of dependence
  • Come from  place known to be a source of human trafficking
  • Have had the fees for their transport to the country of destinationpaid for by facilitators, whom they must payback by working or providing services in the destination
  • Have acted on the basis of false promises

Children Trafficking Indicators

Children who have been trafficked may:

  • Have no access to their parents or guardians
  • Look intimidated and behave in a way that does not correspond with behavior typical of children their age
  • Have no friends of their own age outside of work
  • have no access to education
  • Have no time for playing
  • Live apart from other children and in substandard accommodations
  • Eat apart from other members of the “family”
  • Be given only leftovers to eat
  • Be engaged in work that is not suitable for children
  • Travel unaccompanied by adults
  • Travel in groups with persons who are not relatives

The following might also indicate that children have been trafficked:

  • The presence of child-sized clothing typically worn for doing manual or sex work
  • The presence of toys, beds, and children’s clothing in inappropriate places such as brothels and factories
  • The claim made by an adult that he or she has “found” an unaccompanied child
  • The finding of unaccompanied children carrying telephone numbers for calling taxis
  • The discovery of cases involving illegal adoption

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