An individual aware of trafficking can:
(a) Identity oneself as a victim
(b) Help trafficked victims find safety
(c) Ensure justice is served to traffickers
(d) Make the world a safer place for everyone
A call for arms to every consumer to use products created through fairly paid work, and to know the red flags of a trafficking victim.
1. Know the red flags of trafficking
Trafficking happens all around us. Even if it may take place in several different situations, there are underlying similarities. Below are a list of symptoms—any or all of these may apply, according to the case.
Lack of Freedom and Control
• Shadowed by someone
(Not free to leave, come and go as they wish)
• Repeated calls from a “boyfriend” or "boss"
• Rehearsed answers when spoken to
• Not in control of own money
• Not in control of passport, ID, or license
• Few or no personal belongings
• Prohibited for speaking for themselves (eg. a 3rd party insists on always being present and/or translating)
Poor Mental Health
• Nervous, subdued, paranoid
• Avoids eye contact
• Unusually fearful of receiving help from law enforcement
• Defensive or argumentative
Poor Physical Health
• Lacks healthcare
• Malnourished, exhausted, sleep deprived
• Physical abuse, bruises, cuts
• Tattoos or scarring
Possible Work Conditions
• Under 18, providing commercial sex acts
• In the commercial sex industry, has pimp/ manager
• Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
• Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
• Not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
• Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
• Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
•Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
• High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
• Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
• Loss of sense of time
• Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
This list is only a representation of many indicators of trafficking. The above red flags have been seen in many cases—however, they do not apply to all cases, nor are they exhaustive.
2. Know how to support trafficking victims
Suggested Screening Questions
If you notice potential indicators of trafficking, consider asking suspected victims some of the following questions (when they are alone):
• Can you leave your job if you want to?
• Can you come and go as you please?
• Have you been hurt or threatened if you tried to leave?
• Has your family been threatened?
• Do you live with your employer?
• Where do you sleep and eat?
• Are you in debt to your employer?
• Do you have your identification and passport? If not, who has them?
Factors to keep in mind
Human trafficking victims have faced several atrocities, and there may be several obstacles they face while seeking help. Understanding this mindset and empathy is important to helping them restore their lives. Some barriers may be:
3. Know how to bring victims to safety
Most countries have hotlines that operate 24 x 7, 365 days a year—these are platforms where one can report suspicious activity/ ask for help for themselves.
The links below consist of a comprehensive list of trafficking hotlines for many nations. For nations unlisted, use a search engine such as Google to find the required national hotline.
To find your country on the website, hold down the keys
CTRL+ F (for a PC) or ⌘ + F (for a mac)
and then type in your country in the search bar
What to Expect When Reporting
4. Everyday Action: A Conscious Consumer
Everyday, we unintentionally worsen the trafficking situation by buying products and services that use labor trafficking. Explore the sites below to learn more about different ways to help:
Take the Slavery Footprint quiz to learn about slaves in several product industries, and how your lifestyle does have an impact on many lives.
Check out End Slavery Now's Buy Slave Free website. This provides a comprehensive list of actions possible to become a smarter consumer.