Tips for Identification


One of the most important things you can do help combat human trafficking is assisting in identification. Therefore if you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!

Make The Call: 

  • 911 Emergency
    For urgent situations, notify local law enforcement immediately by calling 911.
  • 1-888-3737-888 National Human Trafficking Resource Center
    • 24/7 Toll-Free, multilingual anti-trafficking Hotline.
    • Call to report a tip, connect with anti-trafficking services in your area; or request training and technical assistance, general information, or specific anti-trafficking resources.
  • 1-888-428-7581 U.S. Department of Justice Worker Exploitation Complaint Line
    • Call the U.S. Department of Justice’s dedicated human trafficking toll-free complaint line at (weekdays 9 AM – 5 PM EST) to report suspected instances of human trafficking or worker exploitation or contact the FBI field office nearest you.

Tips For Recognizing Victims Of Trafficking

Adapted from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center

First Understand the different forms of trafficking: labor, sex, child & organ.


  • Where you could encounter a victim…ANYWHERE. But here are a few specifics:
    • Labor Trafficking
      • Begging– this is especially applicable for children.
      • Commercial agricultural situations (fields, processing plants, canneries)
      • Domestic situations (maids, nannies)
      • Construction sites (particularly if public access is denied)
      • Restaurant, hotel and custodial work.
      • Sweatshops (where abusive labor standards are present)
    • Sex Trafficking
      • Massage parlors
      • Escort services
      • Modeling studios
      • Bars/strip clubs
    • Visible indicators at place of establishment
      • Heavy security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.
      • Victims live at the same premises as the brothel or work site or are driven between quarters and “work” by a guard. For labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.
      • Victims are kept under surveillance when taken to a doctor, hospital or clinic for treatment; trafficker may act as a translator.
      • High foot traffic especially for brothels where there may be trafficked women indicated often by a stream of men arriving and leaving the premises.
    • Although you want to act in the moment, BE CAREFUL, You don’t want to put yourself or them in danger! Remember this is not a simple issue, but very complex. Get the information and resources you need to help the person. Build a relationship with them if you can.

Profile of a Trafficked Person

Most trafficking victims will not readily volunteer information about their status because of fear and abuse they have suffered at the hands of their trafficker. They may also be reluctant to come forward with information from despair, discouragement, and a sense that there are no viable options to escape their situation. Even if pressed, they may not identify themselves as someone held in bondage for fear of retribution to themselves or family members. However, there are indicators that often point to a person held in a slavery condition. They include:

  • Health Characteristics of a Trafficked Person:
    • Malnutrition, dehydration or poor personal hygiene
    • Sexually transmitted diseases
    • Signs of rape or sexual abuse
    • Bruising, broken bones, or other signs of untreated medical problems
    • Critical illnesses including diabetes, cancer or heart disease
    • Post-traumatic stress or psychological disorders
  • Other Important Signs:
    • Does not hold his/her own identity or travel documents
    • Suffers from verbal or psychological abuse designed to intimidate, degrade and frighten the individual
    • Has a trafficker or pimp who controls all the money, victim will have very little or no pocket money

Questions To Ask If You Suspect You Are In The Presence Of A Trafficking Victim

  1. Is the person free to leave the work site?
  2. Is the person physically, sexually or psychologically abused?
  3. Does the person have a passport or valid I.D. card and is he/she in possession of such documents?
  4. What is the pay and conditions of employment?
  5. Does the person live at home or at/near the work site?
  6. How did the individual arrive to this destination if the suspected victim is a foreign national?
  7. Has the person or a family member of this person been threatened?
  8. Does the person fear that something bad will happen to him or her, or to a family member, if he/she leaves the job?

Anyone can report suspected trafficking cases. If the victim is under 18, U.S. professionals who work in law enforcement, healthcare, social care, mental health, and education are mandated to report such cases. Through a grass-roots community-wide effort and public awareness campaign, more professionals on the front line can readily identify the trafficking victim and have him/her treated accordingly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s