“If you see something, say something,” goes for possible situations of human trafficking too. When something just doesn’t look right, don’t look away. Call the toll free National Human Trafficking Hotline : 1-888-373-7888 or text ‘Help’ to: BeFree (233733).
Identifying human trafficking can be hard for many reasons. Victims do not identify themselves due to fear and shame. Often, traffickers force their victims to act happy and tell them what to say. And, traffickers keep their victims secluded from all forms of contact.
In the January issue of her STOP Trafficking Newsletter, Salvatorian Sister Jean Schafer encourages us all to keep our eyes and ears open in places where trafficking can be common, such as restaurants, nail salons, hotels and truck stops. Learn the red flags — warning signs that someone might be a human trafficking victim. They include:
- Avoids eye contact and other social interaction
- Says she is “just visiting” and can’t tell you where she’s staying
- Appears to have few personal possessions
- Looks malnourished or shows signs of physical abuse
- Is not in control of his own money or identification
- Acts fearful or anxious, especially around law enforcement officers
- Has excess amount of cash and is reluctant to explain where it came from
- Has hotel keys or key cards
- Has a tattoo with the name “Daddy” or a barcode
- Answers questions in way that sounds scripted or rehearsed
Finally, don’t hesitate to call for help because you’re not sure about a situation. Make the call. You could be a lifeline for a victim of human trafficking.