Recognizing the signs of an individual being exploited and/or trafficked, is a key step in identifying a victim. 


Warning Signs

  • Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, cuts or bruising.

  • Unexplained absences from class, late graduate or absence/drop-out of college classes.

  • Talks about travel. 

  • Claims of just be visiting and inability to clarify where she is staying/address.

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

  • Sexualized behavior

  • Loss of sense of time, days or even month.

  • Numerous inconsistencies in her story.

  • Less appropriately dressed than before.

  • Brags about making or having lots of money.

  • Has expensive clothes, accessories, shoes or make-up. 

  • Tattoos of a name, symbol of money or barcode on body.

  • Older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle.

  • Talks about wild parties, or “family” or “girlfriend” even if female. 

  • Shows signs of gang affiliation (a preference for specific colors, display gang symbols). 

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as she wishes.

  • Is providing commercial sex acts - stripping, lap dances, physical sexual contact.

  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager.

  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips or may be carrying large amounts of cash, no bank account or savings.

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Is fearful, anxious, withdrawn, depressed, or distracted.

  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement.

  • Avoids eye contact.

Poor Physical Health

  • Lacks health care or cannot provide adequate information about health.

  • May appear malnourished.

  • Signs of addiction or substance abuse, and/or previous record of treatment.

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

Lack of Control

  • May have few or no personal possessions.

  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account.

  • May have control of some money; however, is forced to give portion to manager, pimp or trafficker.

  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport) or does not have such.

  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating).

This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators.

To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the 

Minnesota Tip-Crises Hotline 1.866.223.1111  Day One 

1 (314)-722-8466 Action169 to report exploitation of female age 18-24

© 2016 by Action169 | Fairmont, MN |

Information attained through direct services, female population age 18-24 and survivor informed. 



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Updated, October 2017

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