There could be more to that girl in school who misses all the time and always wears the completely wrong outfit. Not everyone will display every sign, and displaying some of the signs doesn’t mean someone’s a victim. But here are a few things to look out for:
- Has unexplained absences from school for a period of time
- Can’t seem to attend school on a regular basis
- Chronically runs away from home
- Talks about frequent travel to other cities
- Has bruises or other physical trauma
- Seems withdrawn, depressed, or afraid
- Lacks control over her or his schedule or identification documents
- Is hungry (malnourished) or inappropriately dressed (based on weather or surroundings)
- Shows signs of drug addiction
- Demonstrates a sudden change in clothers, behavior, or possessions (e.g., has expensive items)
- Has a “boyfriend” who is noticeably older (10+ years)
If you think one of your peers is being trafficked, the best place to start is by talking to your parents, pastor, a trusted teacher, counselor other school staff member.
If it’s an emergency, dial 9-1-1 or call the local police.
You can report suspected trafficking crimes or get help by calling the national 24/7 toll-free Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.