Signs of Human Trafficking

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Human trafficking can be very difficult to identify and investigate. Traffickers often use violence, intimidation and deception to ensure victims don’t draw attention to the abuse and exploitation. These are some of the signs that someone may be experiencing sex trafficking, labour trafficking, or forced marriage.

This is not a complete list, nor should it be assumed trafficking has taken place if you or someone you know has experienced any of these indicators. This list is provided as a starting point to consider vulnerabilities to exploitation and start a discussion when appropriate and in a safe place. W.E.C.E.N. believes everyone has the right to their autonomy and the ability to define their own personal experience.

They are:

  • secretive about their location/who they are meeting
  • unable to come and go as they please
  • unfamiliar with the neighbourhood they live or work in
  • moving frequently; claiming to be new or just visiting
  • unpaid or paid very little
  • work excessive or unusual hours
  • confused or unwilling to share information
  • always in the presence of someone else
  • unable to speak for themselves/allow others to speak for them
  • provide scripted or rehearsed answers to casual questions
  • appear fearful, anxious, submissive
  • lying about their age/false ID
  • not in possession or control of their identification
  • not in possession or control of their money
  • has few or no personal possessions
  • unable or forbidden to talk to family or friends
  • disengagement from previous interests such as school, work, and social events
  • secretive about day-to-day activities
  • owing money to employer or employment agency
  • preoccupations with earning money
  • unwilling to introduce their new partner to family/friends
  • talk about possessive or controlling behaviour from new relationship
  • old/new injuries or signs of malnourishment
  • may be in possession of excess cash, new clothing or luxury items outside of their financial means
  • may receive excessive gifts from new partner or undisclosed source
  • have tattoos/branding
  • frequently change of phone number or in possession of more than one cell phone

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