Prevention & Intervention

A key to prevention and intervention is knowing the signs and symptoms to help one identify when someone is becoming a victim of sex-trafficking.

Steps of Prevention:

Make sure the government addresses trafficking: work on the high unemployment rate and enact the Nordic Model

EDUCATE children and adolescents about trafficking, abusive relationships, and online safety

Support/protect victims to ensure they do not return to "the life"

General Signs & Symptoms:

Concepts of 'The Life' may be indirectly referenced in conversations

Not free to leave their work as they please

Are paid minimally with long hours at unusual hours

Not permitted breaks or has unusual rules

Has debts to a person or to their work

The person lives where they work

Experiences abuse by their supervisor/ boyfriend

Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after discussing law enforcement

Lacks personal possessions

All ideas need to be "ran by" their boyfriend/supervisor, whom is usually much older

Rehearsed responses to questions about whereabouts, work and home life

Isolated from family and friends

Mental Health Signs

Fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid

Substance use or addiction (used to cope with work)

Physical signs

Avoids eye contact

Untreated STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)

Tattoos on lower back or on back of neck

Bruises, cuts or burns

Begins wearing more sexual clothing and more expensive clothing often associated with more sexual behavior

Signs of substance abuse

Shaky, depressed, sick to stomach, sweat, or have headaches when they have not used

Discuss accumulation and use of drugs frequently

Become disengaged from school/ homework/after school activities* (Also sign of being part of "the life")

Irregular sleep patterns which may lead to sleeping at school/ library*

May have bloodshot eyes, bad breath, shakes or tremors, frequent bloody noses, or extreme weight change


Absent mindedness

Reduction in self-care


As the outsider you need to understand that they know their situation best, be nonjudgmental and available

Assess safety with the victim

Create a safety/escape plan (How to stay safe within "The Life", who they can call, who they could stay with, help them gather their personal documents, and inform them about nearby locations of trafficking/Homeless victims'shelters)

In case they call you, have a code word for "Come get me" or "I am in danger"

If the victim has a phone/laptop that they used to search for safety plan, delete search/browser history

Find a way to stay in contact

Call authorities and contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 to find the service provider nearest you that can assist you in long-term safety planning, including taking out a protective order or accessing the ACP in your state.