Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of exploitation in commercial sex or forced labor.
Recognizing Human Trafficking
Red Flags & Indicators
Human trafficking is a clandestine crime. Regardless of your profession or place of residence, by recognizing the signs, you can report suspicious situations and take part in combating human trafficking here in Central Ohio.
A non-exhaustive list of human trafficking indicators is outlined below. Presence of any one of these indicators is not necessarily indicative of a human trafficking situation, but the list of red flags can be used as a guide for seeing a situation through a human trafficking lens.
If you think you are aware of a potential trafficking situation or a victim in need of services, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Human Trafficking Indicators
When connecting with an individual:
- Appearance of bruises, burns, cuts or other visible signs of physical abuse
- Individual appears submissive, tense, or anxious, and/or avoids eye contact
- Individual’s demeanor changes; ex. change from outgoing to fearful, withdrawn
- Appearance of malnourishment
- Is not in control of his/her identification, visa, or travel documents
- Is not in control of finances/bank account
- Lack of awareness of his/her location; ex. the city or state he/she is located
- Lack of personal possessions
- Individual is under 18 years old and is engaging in commercial sex
- Appearance of being under the control of another
- Movement is restricted
- Works long hours with limited or no breaks
- Owes a large debt
- Little or no payment is received for work or services
- Recruited through false promises concerning nature of work
- Tattoos, particularly of a male name or the word “Daddy” on neck, wrist, or back
When observing a suspicious location:
- High security measurements in work or living areas, such as security cameras, barbed wire fencing, barred windows, etc.
- Evidence of people living at the establishment when unexpected, such as a restaurant or factory; ex. hot plates, mattresses, toiletries, clothing, etc.
- Poor and unsanitary working conditions with a high volume of “employees”
- Sexually explicit materials are visible; ex. pornography, undergarments, video equipment, sex toys
- Evidence of commercial sexual activity; ex. condoms, lotion(s), Kleenex
- Observing an unexpected stream of visitors entering a house, apartment or hotel room
- Red light(s) on a porch may be used to indicate a brothel
State and Federal Laws
To download fact sheets about Ohio’s human trafficking laws and federal human trafficking laws, visit the State of Ohio’s Human Trafficking website at http://humantrafficking.ohio.gov/laws.html.