Identifying a person who is being exploited is not always simple. Seek to engage children who look vulnerable and possible victims gently in conversation. If you ask them about their well being, especially apart from any other person, a trafficking victim may disclose their situation.  

is not free to come and go as he/she wishes

is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips

works excessively long or unusual hours

is not allowed breaks/suffers under unusual restrictions at work

owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off

was recruited through false promises concerning his/her work

is being isolated or shielded from view

lacks knowledge of whereabouts

has lost their sense of time

has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

is fearful, anxious, depressed, tense, nervous or paranoid

exhibits anxious behavior upon discussing engaging law enforcement

avoids eye contact

appears malnourished

shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

has few or no personal possessions

is not in control of his/her own money or identification documents

is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)

The signs of human trafficking can vary by the type of trafficking and the environment. 

​If you are a medical professional, a truck driver, an airline employee, a teacher, a law enforcement officer, or a hotel employee, check out these additional resources to handle human trafficking at work. 

If you suspect human trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Never interfere with a situation or attempt to directly assist the victim. If a potential situation of human trafficking is uncovered, consider the following action steps:

1. If you believe someone in your environment is in danger (especially a child under 18) please call 911 for immediate response from local law enforcement.

2. If you believe you can identify a missing child, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Toll-Free Hotline at 1-800-843-5678

3. If you suspect human trafficking or exploitation might be happening in your environment but do not think anyone is in immediate danger, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 or email


4. If you are a victim of human trafficking and need assistance, you can 

          •   Call 911 for immediate response

          •   Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 or email

          •   Text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)