How to Identify Human Trafficking

Are you or someone you know being trafficked?

Is human trafficking happening in your community?

Are you unsure if you have encountered human trafficking?

To help you recognize human trafficking, we have compiled the following list of potential red flags and indicators.

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 for identifying human trafficking. In addition, the red flags listed here may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit.

To report, call

the Human Trafficking National Hotline

or call our number 224-333-0911


Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health

  • Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
  • Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
  • Almost always accompanied by someone who seems controlling


  • Inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

Take Action. Change a Life.

Remember, it is important to take action if you believe someone is being trafficked. It’s better to be wrong than to not say anything at all. Do not directly intervene, as that can cause more danger to the person you are trying to help.

To report something, call the Human Trafficking National Hotline


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