Learn the signs of human trafficking



Reporting your suspicions may save a life

Learn the signs of human trafficking


In 2018, 492 cases of human trafficking were reported in New York State, possibly the tip of an iceberg. Women represented 68.9 percent of this number, while 27.4 percent were under 18. In 73 percent of the cases, prostitution was involved.

The Orange County Safe Homes program distributes flyers explaining the mechanisms of trafficking and signs that suggest a young person is being trafficked. At the end of this article are several ways to offer confidential reports to agencies that can help rescue people from trafficking situations.

Among the influences that prevent victims from leaving their abusers are fear, trauma, drug addiction, threats against families, and a lack of options due to poverty and homelessness.

Some traffickers use more subtle methods of trapping and controlling people, such as isolation, confiscating identification documents, threatening to shame the victim by exposing humiliating circumstances to their family, threatening imprisonment or deportation if the victim contacts authorities, debt bondage, and controlling the victim's money.

Someone may be a victim of sex trafficking if they:

  • Check into hotels/motels with older males and refers to those males as boyfriend or “daddy,” which is often street slang for a pimp
  • Has a history of multiple runaways or homelessness
  • Does not attend school or is frequently absent
  • Suddenly has large amounts of cash
  • Has visible signs of physical abuse, such as bruising, scars, or hearing loss.
  • Shows shame, humiliation, anxiety
  • submissiveness, or disorientation.
  • Appears malnourished, fatigued, or exhausted.
  • Avoids eye contact, social interaction, and authority figures/law enforcement
  • Seems to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interactions
  • Appears destitute/lacking personal possessions
  • Has poor physical or dental health
  • Has tattoos/branding on the neck and/or lower back.
  • Is not allowed to go into public alone or speak for her/himself.

The presence or absence of any of these indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking but may alert you to a potential human trafficking situation. Also see our article, “Human trafficking happens even in upstate New York.”

If you need help or suspect someone of being trafficked contact:

Safe Homes Orange County Confidential 24/7 Crisis Hotline, 845-562-5340

National Human Trafficking Hotline, 888-373-7888

Ulster County Safe Harbor, https://ulstercountyny.gov/social-services/safe-harbour-program



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