What is human trafficking?
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), human trafficking is:
The “…[use of] force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.”
Who is most targeted to human trafficking?
The short answer is that anyone can be human trafficked. But, there are certain populations/circumstances that may be more vulnerable to it. For example:
- Native Indigenous/American People
- People of Color
- Those in the Foster Care/Juvenile Justice System
- Those of the LGBTQ+ Community
- People Facing Economic Struggles
- Youth & Children
- Those who Recently Experienced a Natural Disaster
How can I identify if someone is being trafficked?
An individual of human trafficking has more than 3 of the following identifiable characteristics. There are many individuals who present almost all these characteristics:
- Change in Physical Appearance & Use of Language
- Bruising, Broken Bones, New Tattoos that seem out of character (Read the Following for Tattoo Examples)
- Branding Marks (seen under black light)
- Hidden Barcodes
- Small Numbers
- Anything Royalty Related
- Commonly accompanied with a “name”
- Self-Harm, Use of Substances, Declining Mental Health
- Missing a lot of school
- Running away from home
- Acting more promiscuous in person or online
- Influx of new clothes, gadgets, accessories
- Using common trafficking term “the game”, “daddy”, “manager”
There are some individuals who are not aware that they are a victim of trafficking. They are commonly brainwashed into thinking the “love” is real. Therefore, the use of their language may appear more subtle, however, loyal. The bullet points above still apply to these individuals.
I think someone I know is a victim of human trafficking or I am a target, what do I do?
There is a hand symbol that signified the need of EMERGENT help.
If you see someone doing this hand gesture, call 911. If you feel as though someone is in danger, call 911 (even if they don’t sign this).
Utilize the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you are reporting human trafficking, you can leave an anonymous tip. If you are the person needing help, they will connect you to recourses and bring you to safety.
- Call: 1-888-373-7888
- Text: “BeFree” (233733)
- Live Chat: humantraffickinghotline.org
Be sure not to confront the trafficker or alert the victim. This may make it harder for the victim to receive help and can put you in ganger.
How can I avoid being a victim of trafficking?
- Do not talk with strangers on the internet without VPN and/or give out personal information (this includes chat rooms, social media, and gaming platforms)
- Verify all job opportunities that are presented to you – traffickers will offer victims a “job” that turns into trafficking
- Job examples include and are not limited to babysitting, and photography opportunities for a large sum of money.
- Know the signs of abusive relationships
- Always trust your gut, if you feel uncomfortable or in danger tell someone (trusted adult, family member, 911)
- Do NOT indicate that you live alone to anyone! Have a friend be around if you are going on a date and/or when a new person is around!
- Do NOT put anything that identifies specific information about you and/or your children on your car! For Example:
- School/Institution Stickers
- Family Stickers that show how many people live in your household
Links to learn more about human trafficking…
National Human Trafficking Hotline
Department of Homeland Security – Blue Campaign