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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Red Flags for Spotting Human Trafficking

Some indicators raise a red flag that a person may be a victim of human trafficking. Take notice in situations where a person
  • Appears to be under someone else's control.
  • They appear to be under surveillance at all times.
  • All or most contacts with family, friends, and professionals are controlled and monitored.
  • Do not manage their own money or money is largely controlled by someone else.
  • Are not in control of their own identification or travel documents.
  • Work excessive hours.
  • Are unpaid for their work or paid very little. Live with multiple people in a very cramped space.
  • Live with their employer.
  • Have little/no English language skills or knowledge of the local community.
  • Appear to have little privacy or are rarely alone.
  • Have visible injuries or scars, such as cuts, bruises, or burns.
  • May have injuries around the head, face, and mouth from being struck in the head or face. (Sex slaves’ scars tend to be hidden, as on the lower back).
  • Have untreated illnesses or infections. Examples: Diabetes, cancer, TB.
  • May have general poor health and/or diseases associated with unsanitary living conditions.
  • Have STDs, HIV/Aids, pelvic pain/inflammation, rectal trauma, urinary difficulties, abdominal or genital trauma.
  • Use drugs – victims are often given drugs to keep them dependent.
  • Exhibit submissive behavior or fearful behavior in the presence of others.
  • Exhibit emotional distress such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, confusion, phobias, disorientation, self-inflicted injuries or suicide attempts.
  • Engage in prostitution or living in a brothel.
  • Are sexually exploited in strip clubs, massage parlors, pornography.
  • Are branded with a tattoo of a man’s name or “Daddy.”
  • Exhibit feelings of helplessness, shame, humiliation, shock, denial or disbelief.
  • Are pregnant as a result of rape or prostitution.
Additionally, for minors, if they
  • Talk about an older boyfriend or sex with an older man/boyfriend.
  • Use words associated with the commercial sex industry.
  • Hang around commercial sex businesses like strip clubs, massage parlors, adult book/video stores.
  • Have stunted growth, or poorly formed or rotting teeth.
Also note:
  • It is important to talk to potential victims in a safe and confidential environment. If the victim is accompanied by someone who seems to have control over them, discretely attempt to separate the person from the individual accompanying him/her, without arousing suspicion, since this person could be the trafficker.
  • As needed, enlist the help of a professional who speaks the potential victim's language and understands his or her culture.
  • Do not collect more information than you need! In depth interviews with the potential victim should be conducted by mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals or legal experts. Multiple interviews may confuse and/or re-traumatize victims and may put you, as a service provider, at risk of being subpoenaed as a witness.
  • Anyone under 18 who engages in commercial sex (porn or prostitution) is legally a severe trafficking victim. Force, fraud or coercion does not need to be present as in the case of someone over 18.

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