WHAT IS SEX TRAFFICKING?
Sex trafficking is when someone uses force, fraud, or coercion to gain some kind of commercial sex act with an adult. Force, fraud, and coercion do not need to be proven for a minor. A commercial sex act includes pornography, prostitution, and sexual performance done in exchange for any item of value (such as money, drugs, shelter, food, clothes). Check out Shared Hope International for more information.
THE FOLLOWING ARE WARNING SIGNS THAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS BEING TRAFFICKED:
- Avoids eye contact
- Numerous inconsistencies in their story
- Significantly older boyfriend or new boyfriend with different lifestyle
- Tattoos or “branding” marks (e.g. boyfriend’s name, initials, money symbol, barcode)
- Other physical signs of abuse such as bruising, burn marks, and cuts
- Suddenly has unexpectedly expensive jewelry, clothing, accessories, cell phones, etc. and is now getting hair and nails done regularly
- Multiple cell phones
- Less appropriately dressed than usual
- Advanced sexual knowledge and sexualized behavior
- Uses terminology such as “the Life,” “Track,” “Daddy,” or “Tricks” (see a more extensive list from Rebecca Bender of commonly used terminology)
- Slowly becomes secluded and you begin to see increasingly less of her/him
- Withdrawn, depressed, distracted, anxious, nervous
- Tired during class or in the daytime in general (from working at night)
- Not allowed to speak for himself/herself – someone always speaking for them
- Dancing or “working” in a bar or club when he/she is obviously not old enough
- Defensive or overly sensitive about their relationships
- Talks a lot about her boyfriend’s dreams and their future together
- Loss of sense of time
- Doesn’t know what city he/she is in; general lack of knowledge about whereabouts
- Substance misuse/abuse
- Shows signs of gang affiliation such as preferring specific colors or displaying gang symbols
Information was compiled from the following reliable resources: Polaris Project, Shared Hope International, and the Rebecca Bender Initiative
IF YOU SUSPECT TRAFFICKING OF AN INDIVIDUAL OR TO REPORT A TIP, CONTACT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.
If you have information about a missing child or suspected child sexual exploitation, call to report it or visit their website.
The National Runaway Switchboard serves as the federally-designated national communication system for homeless and runaway youth. Through hotline and online services, NRS provides crisis intervention, referrals to local resources, and education and prevention services to youth, families and community members throughout the country 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
1-866-347-2423 (U.S. & Canada)
1-802-872-6199 (International Calls)
ICE’s hotline to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity. Call or complete an online tip form.