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Is it Sex Trafficking?

Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.


Sex trafficking does not discriminate, however, vulnerable populations like children and teenagers tend to fall prey to traffickers. A history of abuse or homelessness plays a large factor.

Take note of large age gaps. The average age for entry into the commercial sex trade is 14 years old. The average age of a buyer is 40 years old. Observing an older male entering a hotel with a younger female is often a sign that something else is going on.

Victims may appear anxious, dependent on another person to speak for them while avoiding eye-contact. Note if the companion seems oddly defensive of the person.

Frequent absences from school can be a sign that a child has become involved in sex trafficking, especially if that child is in foster care and may not have a regular, long-term guardian.

If a person claims that their new “boyfriend” has purchased them expensive clothing, jewelry, nails and hair, they might be involved with a trafficker. Victims will often dress in appropriately for the weather.

Paying for a room with cash, declining housekeeping, checking in without luggage, multiple men entering and exiting a room, are all signs of sex trafficking.

Studies have shown that 88 percent of trafficking victims see a medical professional while being trafficked. Patients with bruises, broken bones, cigarette burns, infected tattoos, dental and oral hygiene problems, STDs, vaginal and pelvic pain, disorientation, loss of sense of time and place, are all signs of trauma inflicted during sex trafficking.

Pimps often brand their victims with tattoos with his/her name, barcodes or other marks to identify their workers.

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