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Published March 07 2013

Potential indicators of human trafficking

The individual in question:

  1. Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes.

  2. Is younger than 18 years old and is providing commercial sex acts.

  3. Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp or manager.

  4. Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips.

  5. Works excessively long and/or unusual hours.

  6. Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work.

  7. Owes a large and/or increasing debt and is unable to pay it off.

  8. Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work.

  9. Is living or working in a location with high security measures.

  10. Exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense or nervous/paranoid behavior.

  11. Reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to law enforcement.

  12. Avoids eye contact.

  13. Exhibits a flat affect.

  14. Exhibits unexplained injuries or signs of prolonged/untreated illness or disease.

  15. Appears malnourished.

  16. Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement or torture.

  17. Has few or no personal possessions.

  18. Is not in control of his/her own money, has no financial records, or bank accounts.

  19. Is not in control of his/her own identification documents.

  20. Is not allowed or able to speak for him/herself.

  21. Has an attorney that he/she doesn’t seem to know or to have agreed to receive representation services from.

  22. Has been branded by a trafficker with a tattoo or other marking.

  23. Claims to be “just visiting” and is unable to clarify where he/she is staying or to provide an address.

  24. Exhibits a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or does not know what city he/she is in.

  25. Exhibits a lost sense of time.

  26. Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story.

    Source: Polaris Project