SIGNS OF SEX TRAFFICKING
Human trafficking is often a crime that is hidden in plain sight. Children are especially vulnerable. Any child under 18 who is involved in commercial sex is legally a victim of trafficking, regardless of whether there is a third party involved.
Keep in mind that the presence of these warning signs does not definitively mean the child is being trafficked, but serve as clues to be assessed within the broader context of all information presented:
- Child has multiple cell phones and/or electronic devices
- Child has large amounts of cash or pre-paid credit cards
- Child has no ID, or ID is held by another person
- Multiple children are present with an unrelated male or female
- There is evidence the child has been or will be traveling (child is living out of suitcases, at motels, or in a car)
- Child has a name or symbol tattooed, burned, or branded onto his or her body, particularly when coupled with the child’s reluctance to explain the tattoo, the child’s tattoo matches other children’s tattoos, the tattoo indicates money or ownership (ex. MOB, barcode or $)
- Child references traveling to other cities or states or is not from the current location
- The child may also lack knowledge of his or her travel plans, destinations, and/or his or her current location
- Child has hotel keys, hotel receipts, or other items from a hotel/motel; Presence of an overly controlling or abusive “boyfriend” or older female
Learn more about child sex trafficking from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.