Human Trafficking, Part 4: Looking for signs of human trafficking
One of the biggest weapons against human trafficking is raising awareness and knowing what to look for. It’s important to keep a dialogue with family, friends, and neighbors because this could be happening right in your community. Some warning signs of human trafficking to watch for include:
- Sleeping bags in a place of work that indicate employees are living in the same place where they work and that backrooms appear to be living space
- Workers appear exceptionally young or fearful or particularly submissive
- Not allowing people to go into public alone or speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
- High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
- Person is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
- Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
- When a worker answers casual questions with answers that seem scripted or rehearsed
- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline toll free 888-373-7888. You can also send text with the HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).
You can use the texting option to report a tip, connect with anti-trafficking services in your area or to request training and anti-trafficking resources. In cases of immediate emergencies, call your local police department or 911.
When reporting a situation you believe to be human trafficking, be sure to provide this information in order to help law enforcement officials:
- Describe details of the situation that led you to believe human labor trafficking was happening
- How do you know it’s by force, fraud or coercion?
- Names, addresses, phone number, license plate, demographics and physical description of the controller and/or victim
For more information on human trafficking, visit www.polarisproject.org