Monday, January 11, 2010

Recognize the Signs

Potential Trafficking Indicators

The following is a list of suggested red flags that may be signs of a human trafficking situation of victim. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list. Indicators listed are intended only as potential red flags to keep in mind. In addition, each indicator taken individually may not imply a trafficking situation, but when taken with other indicators, may cumulatively paint a larger picture of human trafficking. Lastly, many of these indicators apply to victims of both transnational and local trafficking as well as both sex and labor trafficking.

Potential Indicators include individuals who:

■Have few or no personal possessions
■Travel through town frequently
■Have few or no personal financial records
■Ask about their whereabouts and/or do not know what city they are in
■Are not in control of their own identification documents (ID or passport)
■Owe a large debt and are not able to pay it off
■Have their communication restricted or controlled. They may not be allowed to speak for themselves,
■a third party may insist on translating, or they may seem watched or followed.
■Have an attorney representing them that they don’t seem to know or didn’t seem to agree to representation
■Have injuries, signs of physical abuse, and/or signs of torture
■Have signs of malnourishment
■Have been “branded” by a trafficker with the trafficker’s name
■Lack the freedom to leave working or living conditions
■Exhibit behaviors including fear, anxiety, depression, submission, tension, and/or nervousness
■Are unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips in their work environment
■Are not in control of their own money
■Work excessively long and unusual hours
■Are not allowed breaks during work
■Exhibit a lack of health care for a prolonged period of time
■Are under 18 and are providing commercial sex – de facto
■Live in locations with peculiar security including barbed wire, guarded compounds, bars on outside of windows, or opaque boarded-up windows
■Claim to be “just visiting” an area but are unable to articulate where they are staying or to remember addresses
■Have numerous inconsistencies in their story
■Exhibit unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up “law enforcement”
■Are performing odd tasks at odd hours (e.g., washing a car at 10pm at night in the cold)
■Avoid eye contract
■Exhibit “hyper-vigilance” or paranoid behavior
■Have a loss of sense of time or space
If you have reason to suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888). Multilingual call specialists are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.