Identifying a Victim of Human Trafficking

While trafficking is a largely hidden social problem, many victims are in plain sight if you know what to look for:

  • Can the person leave their job situation if they want?
  • Was the person recruited for one purpose and forced to engage in some other job?
  • Does the person have possession or control of their identification and travel documents; if not, who has the control?
  • Has the person or person’s family been threatened if they try to leave?
  • Can the person freely contact friends or family?
  • Does the person have to ask for permission to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom?
  • Is the person a juvenile engaged in commercial sex?
  • Has the person been harmed or deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care or other life necessities?
  • Is the victim placed in a location where there is very little interaction with the outside world?
  • Is victim often/always accompanied by another person who seems controlling?
  • Does person accompanying potential victim insist on giving information to health providers?
  • Can you see or detect any physical abuse?
  • Does potential victim seem submissive or fearful?
  • Does potential victim have difficulty communicating because of language or cultural barriers?
  • Does potential victim have any identification?
  • Is potential victim suffering from common health problems experienced by trafficking victims?
  • For example, victims may experience bruising and broken bones, malnourishment, dental decay and mental health issues as a result of their abuse.

Types of human trafficking:

Traffickers use force, fraud and coercion as a means to press victims into lives of servitude and abuse.

  • Force – Rape, beatings, confinement
  • Fraud – False offers of employment, marriage, better life
  • Coercion – Threats, debt-bondage, psychological abuse

Victims of trafficking can be found in:

  • Hospitality Services
  • Restaurants, Hotels, Janitorial, etc.
  • Factory Work
  • Sweatshops
  • Construction
  • Landscaping
  • Domestic Servitude
  • Nannies, Servants, etc.
  • Peddling or Begging
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industries
  • Small businesses
  • Door-to-door sales
  • Nail salons
  • Traveling Carnivals
  • Commercial sex
  • Prostitution, Massage Parlors, Pornography, On-line exploitation, etc.