top of page

Understanding the signs (and symptoms) of human trafficking is the one way to prevent it from happening to you or someone you love.

Recognizing the signs is an important lesson as we continue to combat this heinous crime around our state, country, and the world.

Below are common signs of both labor and sex trafficking you may recognize happening to you, a friend, or loved one.

To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).

Language & Speech

Speech patterns of human trafficking victims can be a stark contrast, including:

  • Appears to not be allowed to speak for themselves

  • Uses language or phrases such as:

    • Daddy (less common now that it is easily recognized)

    • Mama

    • Wife/wifey

    • The Life

    • Track

    • Stable

    • The Game

    • Stroll

    • Tricks

Habits & History

Victims of human trafficking are under the strict control of their pimps/traffickers/bottom bit**. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Is not free to come and go at will

  • Has few or no possessions to his/her name (except will almost always have a cell phone)

  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours (especially after dark)

  • Has unreasonable duties, chores, or expectations on them

  • Is not in control of his/her own money, bank accounts, or identification

  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations, such as boarded up windows, barbed wire, security systems, guards, etc.


Appearance is another way you can often indicate someone is the victim of human trafficking. From survivors who’ve returned from the human trafficking world, these include:

  • Appears malnourished or lacks health care

  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse

  • Barcode or pimp’s name tattooed on body

  • Is a minor with a noticeably older boyfriend

  • Is under 18 and providing commercial sex acts

Behavior & Moods

If you recognize the following behavior or moods in an individual, or even a stranger in passing, they may be signs of a human trafficking victim:

  • Appears fearful, anxious, depressed, and/or submissive

  • Does not know where he/she is (disorientation)

  • Avoids eye contact

  • Inability to provide address or where he/she is staying

  • History of running away

Learn more about human trafficking

At Chains Interrupted, we’re here to help stop human trafficking. We offer brochures, infographics and other educational references for your information.

bottom of page