Friday, October 5, 2012

Human Trafficking Part 3

Warning: This post is just to raise awareness please do not take the law into your own hands and go looking for victims. There are proper avenues to go about rescuing victims of Human Trafficking. If you do suspect call the police or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888),

Recognizing Victims

The following is a list of suggested red flags that may be signs of a human trafficking situation of victim. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list. Indicators listed are intended only as potential red flags to keep in mind. In addition, each indicator taken individually may not imply a trafficking situation, but when taken with other indicators, may cumulatively paint a larger picture of human trafficking. Lastly, many of these indicators apply to victims of both transnational and local trafficking as well as both sex and labor trafficking.

Potential Indicators include individuals who:

§ Have few or no personal possessions

§ Travel through town frequently

§ Have few or no personal financial records

§ Ask about their whereabouts and/or do not know what city they are in

§ Are not in control of their own identification documents (ID or passport)

§ Owe a large debt and are not able to pay it off

§ Have their communication restricted or controlled. They may not be allowed to speak for themselves,

§ a third party may insist on translating, or they may seem watched or followed.

§ Have an attorney representing them that they don’t seem to know or didn’t seem to agree to representation

§ Have injuries, signs of physical abuse, and/or signs of torture

§ Have signs of malnourishment

§ Have been “branded” by a trafficker with the trafficker’s name

§ Lack the freedom to leave working or living conditions

§ Exhibit behaviors including fear, anxiety, depression, submission, tension, and/or nervousness

§ Are unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips in their work environment

§ Are not in control of their own money

§ Work excessively long and unusual hours

§ Are not allowed breaks during work

§ Exhibit a lack of health care for a prolonged period of time

§ Are under 18 and are providing commercial sex – de facto

§ Live in locations with peculiar security including barbed wire, guarded compounds, bars on outside of windows, or opaque boarded-up windows

§ Claim to be “just visiting” an area but are unable to articulate where they are staying or to remember addresses

§ Have numerous inconsistencies in their story

§ Exhibit unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up “law enforcement”

§ Are performing odd tasks at odd hours (e.g., washing a car at 10pm at night in the cold)

§ Avoid eye contract

§ Exhibit “hyper-vigilance” or paranoid behavior

§ Have a loss of sense of time or space

If you have reason to suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888). Multilingual call specialists are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

Signs of Sex Trafficking

LOOK FOR CLUES that may identify a possible trafficking victim:

· Evidence of being controlled: the person is accompanied by a controlling person, and do not speak on her own behalf. The person is transported to or from work; lives and works at the same place and is rarely allowed in public.

· Lack of control over personal schedule: the person is not able to move freely or leave a job. For example a women who works 24/7, sees an important number of clients and has no time for herself.

· Lack of control over money: the person is not able to keep the money earned. It is “withheld for safe-keeping”. Most of the time the person owes debts to the employer.

· The person recently arrived in the country: she often does not speak the language of the country, or only knows sex related words in English.

· Fear, depression and overly submissive behaviour: the person is frightened to talk to outsiders and authorities as a result of threats.

· Poor health: Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, pelvic pain and traumas, urinary difficulties, pregnancy resulting from rape and prostitution, infertility from chronic untreated STDs and unsafe abortions. Malnutrition and serious dental problems.

· Bruises, scars and other signs of physical abuse and torture: although, sex trafficked victims are often beaten in areas that won’t damage their appearance, like their lower back.

· Substance abuse problems or addictions: the person is often coerced into drug use by her traffickers or turn to substance abuse to help cope with her dreadful situation.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS to help determine if the person is a victim of trafficking who needs help.
Key questions:

· What type of work do you do?

· Are you getting paid to do your job? Do you actually receive payment or is your money being held for you?

· Can you come and go as you please? Are you supervised when you are in public places?

· How do you feel about the police?

· Have you been threatened if you try to leave? Have you or your family been threatened?

· Have you been physically harmed in anyway?

· Have you ever been deprived of food, water, sleep or medical care?

· Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom?

· Are there any locks on your doors and windows so you cannot get out?

· Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?

· Is anyone forcing you to do anything that you do not want to do?


Many victims have a strong sense of distrust, and often do not speak the language of the country.

Before questioning a person who may be a victim of sex trafficking, try to separate the person from the individual accompanying her/ him. This individual could be the trafficker, acting as spouse or any other family member.

Evidences of possible “Stockholm” syndrome where kidnapped victims, over time, become sympathetic to their captors.

In the case of CHILD sex trafficking:

LOOK FOR (in addition to the above):

· Child who do not trust adults

· Child who is afraid of being deported by authorities.

· Child who seems to have an inappropriate behaviour towards male adults.

· Child who has a cell phone despite a lack of other basic belongings.

· Child who travels alone or with a group of children accompanied by one adult who seems to guard them.

ASK QUESTIONS, making sure that the child is approached in a manner that reflects his/her age, development, culture, and language.

· Why did you come to (country’s name)?

· Do you have any papers? Who has them?

· Are you in school? Are you working? Can you leave if you want?

· Where do you live? Who else lives there? Are you scared to leave?

· Has anybody ever threatened you or your family, to keep you from running away?

· Did anyone ever touch you or hurt you?

If you have reason to suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888). Multilingual call specialists are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

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