DHS Blue Campaign
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
Many myths and misconceptions exist. Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.
The dramatized scenarios depict indicators of sex trafficking — a crime committed when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to compel another person to perform commercial sex acts. Human trafficking victims are often invisible because we do not recognize indicators of human trafficking. Identifying signs of human trafficking and reporting a tip may save a life.
Human Trafficking and Native Communities
This video depicts what human trafficking can look like in Native communities including recruiting tactics used by traffickers. The video ends with a comprehensive overview of how to recognize and report human trafficking.
The following is a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs. If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation. Click here to learn more about reporting potential human trafficking situations.
The presence of these red flags is an indication that further assessment may be necessary to identify a potential human trafficking situation. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit.
Common Work and Living Conditions:
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:
Poor Physical Health:
Lack of Control:
Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.
If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.
The Blue Campaign creates a variety of toolkits for various communities to raise awareness against the heinous crime of human trafficking. These toolkits provide an overview of human trafficking, how it affects the community, provides information to recognize and report suspected incidents of human trafficking, and posters for display.
What You Can Do...
Use Blue Campaign materials to raise awareness among your constituency.