As aservice provider, you may have an opportunity to identify and assist a victim of human trafficking. These are some red flags:

  •  Seems anxious, fearful or paranoid.  Avoids eye contact.
  • Tearfulness or signs of depression.
  • Unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs of physical abuse.
  • Appears to be in a relationship with someone who is dominating.
  • Never is alone and/or always has someone translating or answering questions on their behalf. 
  • Not in control of their own finances.
  • Presents with secrecy or unable to answer questions about where they live. 
  • Inconsistent details when telling their story. 
  • Has no identification such as a license, passport or other ID documents.
  • Inability to leave their job or residence.  Says they cannot schedule appointments.
  • Being a recent arrival to the United States and does not speak English.
  • Is under 18 and providing commercial sex acts.  Or at any age unwillingly providing commercial sex acts. 
  • Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from an outside entity.


If you can find an opportunity to get he/she alone, ask him/her the following screening questions:

  •  Can you leave your job or house when you want?
  • Where did you get those bruises or is anyone hurting you?
  • Do you get paid for your employment?  Is it fair?  How many hours do you work?
  • (If foreign national) How did you get to the U.S. and is it what you expected?  Are you being forced to do anything you don't want to do?
  • Are you or your family being threatened?
  • Do you live with or near your employer?  Does your employer provide you housing?  Are there locks on doors or windows from outside?
  • Do you owe debt to anyone?


If you suspect they are a victim of human trafficking,take the following actions:

  • Ask the person if you can help them find a safe place to go immediately.
  •  If they need time, create an action plan with them to get to a safe place when they are ready.
  •  Call and make a report to the human trafficking hotline at 1.888.3737.888.  The hotline has language capabilities, so any individual can call directly if they choose. 
  •  If you need more guidance, you can call and talk through the case with USCCB Anti-trafficking program staff at 202.541.3357.

This information is also available to be downloaded as a PDF.