How Does Someone Get Involved In Human Trafficking?

Traffickers prey on vulnerable individuals and use their individual circumstances to lure them. They  may find this information through friends and family, on social media or by befriending or dating them. Those who are lured into sex trafficking locally usually have preexisting struggles such as homelessness, drug addiction, mental illness or poverty. Internationally traffickers find people who are living in destitute situations such as war or extreme poverty. Traffickers use recruiters to find these individuals through advertisement or family members and friends.  

How Will I Know Someone Is Trafficked?

Situational Indicators

  • not free to come and go as they please

  • unpaid or paid very little

  • works excessive long and unusual hours

  • not allowed breaks or has unusual restrictions

  • is confused or not willing to share information

  • in the sex industry under 18

  • owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off

  • unable to speak for themselves

  • not able to contact family or friends

  • not in control of their money

Physical Indicators 

  • multiple injuries (old and new)

  • signs of malnourished

  • branding/tattoos

  • high rates of PTSD, depression, suicidal ideation/self harm

  • defiant and difficult to work with

  • demeanor (fearful, anxious, submissive, flat affect)

Some Clarification

Prostitution vs Sex Trafficking

If another person is in control of the advertisement for sexual services, coerces and exploits them and receives money or other material benefits from sexual services, they are being trafficked. If an individual is in control of themselves and their choices to provide sexual services and no one else is profiting, this is prostitution. 

 

Human Trafficking vs Human Smuggling

Human smuggling is more like a business transaction and a choice. Someone is paying an individual to bring them across a border or to anther area and are aware of what they are doing. Human trafficking involves force and is a way of someone profiting off of an individual by using their vulnerabilities to exploit them. The victim may fears for their safety if they don’t do what their traffickers instructs them to do.