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Many people are trafficked all over the world. Unfortunately, most of the time, they can’t reach out for help for several reasons; language barriers, fear of their traffickers, fear of local authorities, fear of their surroundings. These are all reasons most trafficked victims go unnoticed. We can help by noticing the people around us and looking for signs of the trafficked victim.

Pimps or traffickers typically exhibit the following behaviors:

Jealous, controlling and violent
Significantly older than their companions
Promises things that seem too good to be true
Encourage victims to engage in illegal activities to achieve their goals and dreams
Buys expensive gifts or owns expensive items
Is vague about their profession
Pushy or demanding about sex
Encourages inappropriate sexual behavior
Makes victims feel responsible for their financial stability

Signs that an individual is being trafficked:

Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, cuts or bruises
Unexplained absences from class or work
Less appropriately dressed than before
Sexualized behavior
Overly tired in class or work
Withdrawn, depressed, distracted or checked out
Brags about having or making lots of money
Displays expensive clothing or accessories
A new tattoo of a name, symbol of money or barcode (tattoos are often used as a brand)
Older boyfriend and new friends
Talks about wild parties
Shows signs of gang affiliation (preference of a specific color, gang symbols being drawn, etc.)

While not one of these is indicative of trafficking specifically, a combination of them may be. If you suspect a trafficker or a victim, we encourage you to reach out to someone. It may be embarrassing if the suspicion is false, but a slight embarrassment is better than the alternative of not saying something when it was a person being trafficked. You could save someone’s life.

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a national, anti-trafficking hotline and resource center serving victims and survivors of human trafficking and the anti-trafficking community in the United States. The toll-free hotline is answered live 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.


Shared Hope International. (n.d.). Report trafficking. Retrieved from:

Don't be censored

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