Identifying Human Trafficking


Part of the mission of this blog is to bring attention to the systemic global issue of human trafficking. Human trafficking is pervasive in all nations and sometimes victims are hidden in plain sight. I hope my continued efforts help bring to light a growing international problem.

[ The following information is taken from the California Attorney General website: ]

Identifying victims of human trafficking can be difficult because traffickers often isolate victims from their families, communities, and the public. Victims are sometimes kept locked behind closed doors. Victims of human trafficking can also be hidden in plain sight. They may have a seemingly legal job at a hotel, factory, or restaurant, but are actually working for little or no pay. To a general observer, victims of human trafficking may look similar to other workers in their respective professions, but there may be some signs or indicators of abuse.

The following possible indicators can help identify the signs of a human trafficking victim, and was adapted from information provided by the Polaris Project and its National Human Trafficking Resource Center:

Physical Indicators may include:

Excessive work-related injuries
Bruises and other evidence of sexual assault, beatings, physical restraint or confinement
Untreated sexually transmitted diseases
Untreated critical illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease, malnourishment, etc.
Severe psychological distress
Poor dental health
Under 18 and providing commercial sex acts
Other Important Signs may include:

Inability to speak to someone else alone, or to speak for themselves
Limited or nonexistent ability to speak English
Disoriented – lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or loss of sense of time, or inability to clarify where he/she is staying
Evidence of being controlled
Not in possession of passport or other forms of identification
Not in control of his/her own money, have no financial records, or bank account
Has few or no personal possessions
Fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, nervous/anxious
Unusually fearful or anxious behaviour after bringing-up law enforcement
Works excessively long and/or unusual hours; perhaps not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
Numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

A list of Trafficking Indicators is also available from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

Other Resources on How to Identify Human Trafficking Victims

For the General Public

Identify and Assist a Trafficking Victim (US Department of State)
Recognizing the Signs of Human Trafficking (Polaris Project)


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