Sexual Human Trafficking Warning Signs

September 24, 2019 | Firm News

The United States is one of the top three worst nations in the world when it comes to human trafficking, according to a recent report from the State Department. Nearly 200,000 incidents of sexual exploitation occur across the country every year. The data also reveals that the people who are most at risk of becoming victims are children. Especially those in foster care, who are homeless, undocumented immigrants, and kids with substance abuse issues. With such alarming statistics, increasing awareness of potential sexual human trafficking warning signs is paramount and can help save lives.

warning signs of sexual human trafficking

Signs to Look For

The following are possible red flags that may indicate sex trafficking:

Living and Work Conditions

  • Living at their place of employment.
  • Unable to leave or come and go as they please.
  • Working in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp or a manager.
  • Receiving little to no wages, or is only being paid in tips.
  • Paying in cash for services.
  • Long and/or odd work hours.
  • Unusually strict work regulations and/or unable to take breaks.
  • Working due to a large debt that they can’t pay off.
  • Little to no personal possessions.
  • No access to ID, personal possessions, or money.
  • Lured into working due to misleading facts concerning the nature and conditions of the job.
  • Extensive security measures in place at the living and/or work locations (e.g., windows boarded up, bars on the windows, opaque windows, security cameras, barbed wire fences)
  • Little children working in a family restaurant.

Changes in Behavior / Mental Health Concerns

  • Evasive when asked where they live.
  • Unable to tell you where they are, such as the city or street they are on.
  • Submissive, fearful, anxious, depressed, paranoid, or nervous demeanor.
  • Unusually fearful or anxious when law enforcement is brought up in conversation.
  • Inconsistencies in their conversation.
  • Not able to speak for themselves or seeming to give scripted responses.
  • Avoiding eye contact or social interaction.
  • Anxiously watching their cell phone.

Physical Signs

  • Indications of physical, sexual, psychological trauma.
  • Injuries in various stages of healing and reluctant to explain the nature of how they occurred.
  • Marks that may point to physical restraint or torture.
  • Poor physical or dental health.
  • Inappropriately dressed for age or weather.
  • Appearing malnourished.
  • Symptoms of being repeatedly exposed to harmful chemicals.
  • New tattoo (Pimps often use tattoos as a way of branding victims. Tattoos of a name, symbol of money, or a barcode could indicate trafficking)

Where Human Sex Trafficking is Happening

Repeatedly referred to as modern-day slavery, sex trafficking is unfortunately often hidden in plain sight. Traffickers frequently target locations which youth regularly visit, such as schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters, and group homes. In addition, at-risk youth and runaways are at an especially high risk of being bought or sold for some kind of sexual exploitation.

Businesses such as hotels, motels, and truck stops, provide a venue for this criminal industry. These places of business often have the opportunity to identify and report signs of sex trafficking. However, they look the other way on numerous occasions, in an effort to facilitate sex trafficking enterprises for their financial advantage.

The Dunken Law Firm Will Get the Justice You Deserve

The Dunken Law Firm is committed to holding sex traffickers and businesses accountable for the extensive and unforgivable violations they commit against human rights. If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual human trafficking and in need of legal assistance, please contact a human trafficking lawyer for a free case consultation. We can be reached online or by calling (713) 554-6780.