Identifying victims of human trafficking can be difficult because traffickers often isolate victims from their families, communities, and the public. Victims are sometimes kept locked behind closed doors. Victims of human trafficking can also be hidden in plain sight. They may have a seemingly legal job at a hotel, factory, or restaurant, but are actually working for little or no pay. To a general observer, victims of human trafficking may look similar to other workers in their respective professions, but there may be some signs or indicators of abuse.
The following is a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs. If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888 for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation. Learn more about reporting potential human trafficking situations at https://humantraffickinghotline.org/report-trafficking.
The presence of these red flags is an indication that further assessment may be necessary to identify a potential human trafficking situation. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. The red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim of trafficking might exhibit or face. The individual:
Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.
If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.