What is human trafficking?  Human trafficking is the business of profiting from enslaving humans for the purpose of commercial sex, work labor, or organ harvesting.  Every 30 seconds someone is kidnapped or sold into human trafficking.  It's a global pandemic that has become the fastest growing crime in the world, profiting an estimated $150 billion a year. 

Traffickers do NOT fit a specific profile.  ANYONE can be a human trafficker.  They are master manipulators that come from all demographic backgrounds.  They prey upon the vulnerable and use lies and deception to lure their victims, often gaining their trust with promises of love, job opportunities, money, a place to live, and a better life.  

Victims of trafficking can be of any age, gender, race, nationality, or economic or social status.  There are some who are more vulnerable to being trafficked than others. Some of these risk factors may include: dealing with addiction, victims of abuse, runaway and homeless youth, children in the foster care system, individuals with disabilities, and immigrants.

Children make up 25% of trafficking victims.  Any minor involved in commercial sex activities is a sex trafficking victim.  Even if the minor appears to be a willing participant.  Teach your children about the dangers of human trafficking.  Let them know that safe adults do NOT ask children to keep secrets and adults should NOT be asking children for help.  Monitor your child's social media accounts and limit their screen time.  The popularity of online gaming has given traffickers and predators a new way to access children.  Help your children to know the signs.

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Victims of human trafficking may exhibit some of these signs:

  • Evidence of physical abuse

    • bruises​/cuts

    • broken bones

    • burns

    • signs of restraints

    • sexually transmitted diseases

  • Evidence of neglect

    • malnutrition

    • poor hygiene

    • frequently missing work or school

  • Signs of emotional distress

    • depression

    • anxiety/panic attacks

    • fearful or paranoid behavior

    • suicidal behavior

    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    • Avoids eye contact

  • Untrusting, especially in law enforcement

  • Tattoo or branding

  • A person showing signs of neglect accompanied by an older, well groomed person.

  • Children dressing or behaving inappropriately for their age

  • False identifications

  • Multiple cell phones

  • Frequent male visitors

  • Large amounts of cash

  • New or expensive gifts

  • Posting provocative photos on social media

  • Having someone else to speak for them

  • Acting disoriented or confused

  • Does not know the state or city they are in


Not all victims of human trafficking show signs.  Some may not even know that they are a victim.  If you are suspicious of human trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline:

1-888-373-7888 or text "Help" to 233733 (BEFREE)