Know the Signs of Human Trafficking

Identifying victims of human trafficking isn’t as simple as it might sound, says advocate Dana Vaughn-Mgunda, a graduate of Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Knowing what to look for and reporting it, however, may save a life. Vaughn-Mgunda offers the following tips:

  • Notice whether the suspected victim is accompanied by someone who insists on doing the talking for them.
  • Look for signs of physical abuse.
  • Look for emotional distress. Does the person seem depressed or disconnected?
  • Before talking to a potential victim, isolate him or her from the accompanying person without raising suspicions.
  • Ask probing questions, such as: “How many hours do you work?”, “Are you paid?” or “Do you owe your boss money?”
  • Note whether the individual is rarely alone.
  • Observe whether the suspected victim is in poor health or reports not being able to get medical help.
  • Look for people younger than 18 who spend time around adult entertainment businesses.
  • Look for people younger than 18 who are not attending school.
  • Pay attention to those who cannot speak English.
  • Contact law enforcement or social services if you suspect trafficking.