What are the Signs of Human Trafficking? 

Signs of Human Trafficking

The signs of human trafficking are not always obvious. Always report it if you have any suspicions someone is being held against their will.  

Signs of human trafficking

Is the person:

Showing signs of physical abuse such as bruises, cuts or burns.

  1. Dressed Inappropriately? Either provocatively or under dressed in cold, wet weather.
  2. Unkempt?
  3. Withdrawn, distracted?
  4. Unable to answer for themselves?
  5. Acting as if instructed by someone else?
  6. Distrustful? 
  7. Not in possession of their own legal documents?

Any of these signs could be an indication that something is not quite right with the individual. It may not be due to human trafficking but they are all warning signs that require further investigation.

What is human trafficking? 

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. The dictionary definition is: ‘the illegal practice of procuring or trading in human beings for the purpose of prostitution, forced labor, or other forms of exploitation.’ People are bought and sold just like goods. Human trafficking mostly involves women and children but does include men too. It happens in Countries all over the world. It does not necessarily involve moving people from one place to another. Human trafficking is a crime. It is a violation against human rights as it restricts movement and is exploitative.

Types of human trafficking

Trafficking of children

Children are classed as any individual under 18 years of age. They are exploited for many reasons:

  1. Sexual exploitation such as prostitution or child pornography.
  2. Forced child labour or slavery.
  3. Organ transfers
  4. International adoption
  5. Early marriage
  6. Beggars (children are often more successful at begging than adults).
  7. Instruments of war – as soldiers, porters and wives for the adult soldiers.
  8. Athletes – in some instances children may be trafficked for sporting reasons, to be used and trained as footballs players or child camel jockeys.    

A high percentage of international trafficking involved children. IOM indicated in 2011 that round 35% of human trafficking was children. Poor areas tend to have the highest instances. For families living in extreme poverty there is sometimes little choice. Parents may be forced to sell children to survive. 

Sex Trafficking

Sex Trafficking is far reaching and wide ranging. The International Labour Organisation stated that it affects 4.5 million people worldwide. Signs of human trafficking can involve individuals being forced into sex work due to threat, physical and mental abuse, deception and as debt repayment. They do not have to be moved from one place to another to be identified as sex trafficked. 

Forced Marriage 

A forced marriage is one is is not consented by both people. Servile marriage is a marriage involving one person who has been used as a commodity and has been bought, transferred or inherited.

Forced marriage is a form of modern slavery. It sometimes comes under human trafficking if a person is sent to another country, they did not consent or if they are forced to engage in sexual acts. This then becomes sex trafficking. If they are used as a servant in any way this then falls under labour trafficking. 

Labour trafficking 

This involves the movement of people to be used as slaves. They may be forced to work in difficult, unsafe, unsanitary and dangerous environments. They may be forced to work long hours for little or no money. It often involved domestic, construction, manufacturing and agriculture work. 

Organ trafficking

This often involves those who are poor and vulnerable. In some cases the victim may voluntarily give up an organ through desperation for money/ goods. They can then paid less or not at all for the organ. Sometimes an organ can be taken without consent during treatment for another issue. 

You can view our Modern Slavery online training course here.