How To Spot Sex Trafficking Victims

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2021 at 5:20 pm    

Thousands of children become the victim of sex trafficking every year. In New York, there were 454 cases of human trafficking reported in 2019. The pandemic only made trafficking worse, because there were fewer resources for victims to use to escape their abusers. One of the main issues with human trafficking is that victims hide in plain sight. You may interact with a trafficking victim and never know it if you aren’t familiar with the warning signs. Below is a guide to some of the common warning signs of a human trafficking victim.

  • Appearing malnourished
  • Showing signs of physical injuries and/or abuse
  • Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and authority figures
  • Seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction
  • Lacking official identification documents
  • Appearing destitute or lacking personal possessions
  • Checking into hotels/motels with older males, and referring to those males as boyfriend or “daddy,” which is often street slang for pimp
  • Poor physical or dental health

Specifically, sex trafficking can affect children in ways that are unexpected to those that are not familiar with these crimes. Foster children in particular are targeted as trafficking victims. It is estimated that 60% of child sex trafficking victims have previously been in foster care. A child who suddenly is bringing home items they couldn’t usually afford, like expensive electronics, designer bags, or video game systems, could be a red flag for trafficking. This is a common trafficking tactic. The trafficker “befriends” someone vulnerable, like a child who is isolated and/or in foster care and lavishes them with expensive presents. Then, once the child has accepted these gifts and enjoyed them, the trafficker will use it against them and say that those presents weren’t free, and now the child needs to pay them back.

In some cases, you even need to be careful about approaching the parents. Parents (foster or otherwise) can become traffickers of children in their care, and this is one of the most commonly overlooked cases of trafficking. The most important thing to do is to be a consistent and trustworthy presence in the lives of a child you are concerned about. By simply being there for them, you may be able to earn their trust enough for them to confide in you.

If your child was a victim of human trafficking, you are not alone. You and your child deserve the opportunity to fight for your rights. For a free and confidential review of your situation, contact us today at (212) 779-0057.

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