Friday, February 5, 2010

Potential Trafficking Indicators


The following is a list of red flags to keep in mind that may indicate a potential situation of or a victim of human trafficking. Each indicator taken individually may not necessarily imply a trafficking situation. Furthermore, items on this list are not meant to be interpreted as present in all trafficking cases, neither is the list intended to be exhaustive. This list is intended to encompass transnational and domestic trafficking, as well as both sex and labor trafficking. Some indicators may be more strongly associated with one type of trafficking. Common Work and

Living Conditions: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
-Is under 18 years of age and is providing commercial sex acts
-Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager
-Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
-Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
-Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
-Owes a large and/or increasing debt and is unable to pay it off
-Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
-Is living or working in a location with high security measures (e.g. opaque or boarded-up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.).

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid behavior
-Reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to "law enforcement"
-Avoids eye contact
-Exhibits a flat affect.

Poor Physical Health: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Presents with unexplained injuries or signs of prolonged/untreated illness or disease
-Appears malnourished
-Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.

Lack of Control: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Has few or no personal possessions
-Is not in control of his/her own money, and/or has no financial records, or bank account
-Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (e.g. ID, passport, or visa)
-Is not allowed or able to speak for him/herself (e.g., a third party may insist on being present and/or interpreting)
-Has an attorney that he/she doesn’t seem to know or to have agreed to receive representation services from.

Other: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Has been "branded" by a trafficker (e.g. a tattoo of the trafficker’s name)
-Claims to be "just visiting" and is unable to clarify where he/she is staying or to provide an address
-Exhibits a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or does not know what city he/she is in
-Exhibits a loss of sense of time
-Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story.

Potential Trafficking Indicators Polaris Project Polaris Project P.O. Box 77892, Washington, DC 20013 Tel: 202.745.1001 © Copyright Polaris Project, 2009. All Rights Reserved.