Know the Red Flags
Some indicators raise a red flag that a person may be a victim of human trafficking. Take notice in situations where a person is/has:
- Has injuries or other signs of abuse and is reluctant to explain them.
- Appears malnourished.
- Branded or marked with a tattoo, such as a man’s name, symbol of money, or a barcode.
- Dressed in a provocative manner or in the same clothes, regardless of weather or circumstance.
- Has very few personal possessions.
- Has an unexplained, sudden increase in money, clothing, or possessions like jewelry without explanation.
- Doesn’t carry identification.
- Has a number of hotel keys or key cards.
- Has a prepaid cell phone.
- Fears authority figures.
- Claims to be an adult, though their appearance suggests adolescence.
- Seems to move frequently from place to place.
- Talks about an older boyfriend or sex with an older man.
- Has inconsistencies in their story.
- Claims to be visiting, and can’t state what city they’re in or for how long.
- Isn’t able to speak for themselves.
- Has sexually explicit profiles on social networking sites.
- Is not enrolled in school or is consistently absent.
- Seems to be withdrawn, depressed, or “checked out.
LACK OF CONTROL
- Accompanied by someone who seems to control their every move.
- Seems scripted in the way they speak.
- Doesn’t have control over their own money.
- Can’t come and go from place to place on their own.
Source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
If you suspect a case of human trafficking call:
Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline: 855-558-6484
It is important to talk to potential victims in a safe and confidential environment. If the victim is accompanied by someone who seems to have control over them, discretely attempt to separate the person from the individual accompanying him/her, without arousing suspicion, since this person could be the trafficker.
As needed, enlist the help of a professional who speaks the potential victim's language and understands his or her culture. Do not use someone who is with the individual to provide translation.
Do not collect more information than you need! In depth interviews with the potential victim should be conducted by mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals or legal experts. Multiple interviews may confuse and/or re-traumatize victims and may put you, as a service provider, at risk of being subpoenaed as a witness.
Anyone under 18 engaging in commercial sex is legally a severe trafficking victim. Force, fraud or coercion does not need to be present as in the case of someone over 18.
Find a printable version of this page here: Red Flags for Victim Identification