Human trafficking is a crime that often goes unreported because of its covert nature. Below are a few indicators for how to recognize this horrific illegal activity. Overall, though, we recommend that you trust your gut. If something doesn't seem right about a situation, it's better to report it than to regret not doing it later.
- Potential victim is accompanied by another person who seems controlling and/or insists on speaking for the victim
- Frequent relocation
- Numerous inconsistencies in his or her story
- Neglected healthcare needs
- Are not in control of their own money
- Lack of control of identification documents
- Individual is using false identification papers
- Restricted or scripted communication
- Excess amount of cash
- Hotel room keys
- Chronic runaway/homeless youth
- Signs of branding (tattoo, jewelry)
- Lying about age
- Lack of knowledge of given community or whereabouts
- Exhibits behaviors including hyper-vigilance or paranoia, nervousness, tension, submission, etc.
- Signs of physical abuse (bruises, burns, cuts, scars, etc)
- Evidence of trauma
- Poor dental hygiene
- Psychological problems (depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, panic attacks, Stockholm's Syndrome, fear/distrust)
Questions to Keep in Mind
- Are they being forced to do something they don't want to do?
- Is the person allowed to leave their place of work?
- Has the person been physically and/or sexually abused?
- Has the person been threatened?
- Does the person have a passport and other documents, or are they taken away?
- Has the person been paid for his/her work or services?
- How many hours does the person work a day?
- What are the living conditions?
- How did the person find out about the job?
- Do they have to ask permission to eat, sleep, etc?
- Do they believe they owe money for their travel or other expenses?
- Has anyone threatened their family?
- Where do they eat and sleep?
What to Do
If you believe someone is a victim of Human Trafficking:
- Call 911
- Indianapolis Trafficked Persons Assistance Program 24-hr hotline: 1-800-928-6403
- National Human trafficking Resource Center Hotline: 1-888-3737-888 or send a text to BeFree (233733)
- Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-800-800-5556