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How to Spot the Signs of Human Trafficking – and What to Do Next

Human Trafficking has increased over the last year as the pandemic continues. More citizens need to know the signs and what to do to help.

Police and government agencies say that human trafficking has increased during the pandemic. Now, more than ever, everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking. Recognizing the signs of human trafficking is the first step to identifying a victim and then taking appropriate action.

Signs of child sex trafficking might include:

• Changes in school attendance, habits, friend groups, vocabulary, demeanor, and attitude
• Sudden appearance of luxury items, e.g., manicures, designer clothes, purses
• Sexually provocative clothing
• Tattoos or branding
• Refillable gift cards
• Multiple phones or social media accounts
• Lying about the existence of social media accounts
• Provocative pictures posted online or stored on the phone
• Unexplained injuries
• Social interaction and schedule being strictly controlled by someone else
• Isolation from family, friends, and community

Anyone can help report human trafficking by paying attention to the red flags listed above and reporting them in a timely manner. Individuals are cautioned to not approach traffickers themselves because they could put themselves in danger and put any future prosecution of the buyers or pimps in danger. It is recommended to call the human trafficking hotline and report any suspected instances of human trafficking. It is better to call and report suspected trafficking than not to report at all. By identifying victims and reporting tips, you are doing your part to help law enforcement rescue victims, and you might save a life.

Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

You can learn more about the signs of human trafficking by reading other free resources provided by organizations such as Polaris Project.

Parents should know how to strengthen their child’s confidence and reduce their susceptibility to becoming trafficked. At a recent training session, Youth for Human Rights Ambassador Erica Rodgers stated, “A solid understanding of human rights breeds confidence in youth. Pimps and recruiters don’t target confident youth. They look for the shy and insecure youth – the ones they can manipulate. By ensuring youth are confident and know how to protect their rights, we help prevent them from being the target of traffickers.”

Youth for Human Rights International has been working to prevent human trafficking on a national and international level for over a decade. Raising awareness of human rights is the necessary undercut to this and so many other human rights issues. Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” To read all of the human rights as listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights go to:

One online training event on trafficking organized by Youth for Human Rights included speakers from Airline Ambassadors, the Mexico Coalition against Trafficking, Karana Rising, and other anti-trafficking organizations. For more on the signs of trafficking go to:

Youth for Human Rights in Washington, DC, delivers training on how to spot the signs of human trafficking. This includes special training on how to be aware as a parent, or even a citizen, how to spot key signs and indicators of child sex trafficking, and what you can safely do about it.

About Youth for Human Rights:
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to inspire them to become valuable advocates for tolerance and peace. YHRI advocates for human rights both in the classroom and in nontraditional educational settings such as through art series, concerts and other interactive community events, including regional and international human rights summits which bring youth together from across whole sectors of the world. Their most recent campaign has included #KnowYour30 with the deliberate purpose of increasing awareness of the 30 human rights every person has — and how they are a part of everyday life. To learn more about human rights go to For a documentary on Youth for Human Rights and its founder, go to

Press Office
Youth for Human Rights International – National Office
+1 202-667-6404

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