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Red Flags of Labor Trafficking

  • Feel pressured by their employer to stay in a job or situation they want to leave

  • Owe money to an employer or recruiter and/or not being paid what they were promised or are owed

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

  • Do not have control of their passport or other identity documents

  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours

  • Is not allowed breaks 

  • Living and working in isolated conditions, largely cut off from interaction with others or support systems

  • Appear to be monitored by another person when talking or interacting with others

  • Being threatened by their boss with deportation or other harm

  • Working in dangerous conditions, without proper safety gear, training, adequate breaks and other protections

  • Living in dangerous, overcrowded or inhumane conditions provided by an employer

  • Living where they work or are transported by guards between home and workplace

  • Evidence of violence: bruises, scars, burns, 
    signs of torture or restraint

  • Inability to speak English

  • Lack of knowledge of the area they live in

Red Flags of Sex Trafficking

  • They want to stop participating in selling or trading sex but feel scared or unable to leave

  • They disclose that they were reluctant to engage in selling sex but that someone pressured them into it

  • They have a pimp or manager in the sex trade

  • They work in an industry where it may be common to be pressured into performing sex acts for money, such as a strip club, illicit cantina, go-go bar, or illicit massage business

  • They have an older, or simply controlling parent, guardian, romantic partner or “sponsor” who will not allow you to meet or speak with the person alone or monitors their movements, spending and/or communications

  • Change in behavior: depressed, anxious, fearful, lost of interest in hobbies

  • Change in attendance at school, appearance, or the language they use ​​

  • Tattoos/Branding

  • Frequent runaways

  • Luxury items like clothing, phones, etc. with unexplained source of income. 

  • Forced to meet daily quota

  • Shows signs of substance use or addiction

  • Poor Physical Health. Shows signs of poor hygiene, malnourished, and/or fatigue

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

  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where they are staying/address

  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in

This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. The red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases. Each individual indicator should be taken in context, not be considered in isolation, nor should be taken as “proof” that human trafficking is occurring. Additionally, cultural differences should also be considered. 

Source taken from Polaris.

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