People in Park

Frequently asked questions

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is the exploitation of people for commercial sex or labor by means of force, fraud or coercion. One of these three elements must be in play for it to be considered human trafficking.

Why don’t victims leave?

Victims become trapped and fear leaving for myriad reasons, including psychological trauma, shame, emotional attachment, or physical threats to themselves or their family.

How do traffickers lure victims?

The internet has fast become the number 1 way that a trafficker finds someone. Traffickers will often use a strategy of love and affection in order to gain trust. They can also promise fame and/or a new life. This is called Grooming. Grooming is a brainwashing technique in order to gain control over their victim. Once a victim is under the control of a trafficker, they will employ a variety of other control tactics to keep them compliant. The most common include physical and emotional abuse and threats, isolation from friends and family, and economic abuse.

Who is vulnerable?

Significant risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the child welfare system and being a runaway or homeless youth. Often, traffickers identify and leverage their victims’ vulnerabilities in order to create dependency. Keep in mind, although there are factors that can make one person more vulnerable to trafficking than another, ANYONE can become a victim of Human Trafficking.

1. Isolated from family, friends, community
organizations, or houses of worship
2. Stops attending school
3. A sudden or dramatic change in behavior or dress
4. A juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts
5. Disorientation or confusion,
or showing signs of mental or physical abuse
6. Branding

7. Signs of fear, shyness, or submissive behavior
8. Unreasonable security measures
9. Unable to speak for themselves
10. Someone other than the individual is in control
11. Appears to be coached on what to say
12. Living in unsuitable conditions
13. No access to identification
14. Signs of malnutrition/neglect

If you are being trafficked or suspect someone that is, please contact
the National Human Trafficking Hotline for help at: 1-888-373-7888.
It is better to report and be wrong, than to dismiss it and be right.

Signs to Look For

Most cases in the United States involve kidnapping

This is false. Although there are cases of Human Trafficking that involves kidnapping most trafficking cases in the United States involve trickery, deceit, manipulation and blackmail. Kidnapping is very rare.

Most cases in the United States are not citizens

This is false. 98% of people that are trafficked in the United States are United States Citizens.

Victims will immediately ask for help and self identify as a victim

This is false. Victims often do not realize that they are being victimized, they have been manipulated into believing otherwise. Some lack the basic necessities to physically get out – such as transportation or a safe place to live. Some are afraid for their safety or the safety of a loved one. There are many reasons why a victim will not ask for help.

Trafficking and smuggling are the same thing

This is false. Smuggling is moving a willing participant across the border. Human Trafficking can happen without ever moving a person and involves force, fraud or coercion.

Survivors are immediately out of danger and heal quickly

This is false. Many times victims need a safe place to go in order to free themselves from their trafficker. Most that are rescued will have a lifetime of trauma that will need help to heal from.

Myths About Human Trafficking