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10 Signs of a Human Trafficking Ring

Someone you know and love could be a victim. Keep an eye out for the warning signs of a human trafficking ring in your area.

Human trafficking is considered to be one of the most gruesome crimes in existence. It's a crime that involves the capture of men, women, and children, and then using them as slaves.

People who are victims of human trafficking can be sold into slavery, forced into prostitution, or even sold into marriage. Those who are trapped by traffickers very rarely have the chance to see their families again, and will likely die within a couple of years of being sold.

Most people think that human trafficking will never happen in their neighborhood, but think again! It can and does happen in small towns across the United States all of the time.

You can help the fight against modern slavery and reunite missing people with their families. If you notice any of these warning signs of a human trafficking ring, call the police. It could help save a life.

You see someone who seems like a "kept person."

Victims of human trafficking are not typically allowed to come and go as they please. In many cases, they may also be very scared to talk to people they meet due to their keepers threatening them with violence.

In many cases, they may never leave the site of their home or may never be seen without a person next to them. They also may be told to hide when guests arrive, or may even seem terrified of revealing themselves.

This is one of the most obvious signs of a human trafficking ring being active in your community. Sadly, there are more.

Someone who's working alongside you has unusual restrictions.

At times, owners of legitimate businesses use people who are trafficked to cut costs. This often means that victims will have unusually long hours, be unable to take breaks, or will be told that they cannot talk to other people while they work. 

A boss who hits a particular group of employees or threatens them could be using a human trafficking ring to supply labor. This is something that should be brought to the authorities as soon as you see it.

You find out that someone is being paid very little for their labor, or isn't being paid at all.

Though this could just be a sign of a thrifty businessperson trying to pay someone "under the table," or of a person going through an internship, it can also be one of the more insidious signs of a human trafficking ring.

Trafficked people are as cheap as they can get in terms of labor because it is literally modern day slavery. They're slaves. Slaves who have to be told to lie about their pay scale if they're forced to work.

As a result, those who buy their labor will often lie about their pay. If you find out that your coworkers are being paid way less than they should be, there is at least a chance that they are trafficked.

You're pretty sure that you saw a pimp and his girl.

Despite the fact that you might think it's funny to say, "It's hard out here for a pimp," pimps are human traffickers. Period.

If you notice that a significantly older man is "managing" a sex worker, stripper, or escort, chances are that the woman is being trafficked. More specifically, you're looking at a sex trafficking ring.

That being said, some women choose this life, and others are coerced into it. The more alarming signs of a human trafficking ring involves seeing signs of violence, an overly controlling man, or seeing women with matching tattoos. These signs indicated coerced trafficking.

You saw a girl who's under 18 acting as a sex worker.

Minors cannot give consent to do sex work on their own, and in the vast majority of cases, underage sex workers were taught to do that by others. Any time you see a person under the age of 18 doing commercial sex work, you're looking at one of the most worrisome signs of a human trafficking ring.

Should you see this, try to get the child alone and call the police. You could save them from a lifetime of pain.

Someone you know has few possessions and has zero control over their finances, documents, or bank accounts.

People who are victims of human trafficking do not have control over their money. In most cases, traffickers will confiscate their personal documents, deny them bank accounts, or refuse to allow them to handle the money they make.

Money is power, and so are documents. Both would allow victims to escape their trafficking rings. That's why traffickers will never let them near their cash.

You've noticed people who have signs of physical abuse around a particular workplace or around a certain person's home.

Domestic violence or human trafficking? A person who has lots of cuts, bruises, and signs of being battered should always be approached and asked if they need help.

People who are being trafficked are often physically abused by their traffickers, or by the clients who buy them from the trafficking ring. If you notice multiple people around the neighborhood that have suspicious bruises, it could be a trafficking ring.

Someone just seems like they are very disoriented and can't figure out where they are.

Human trafficking rings may use drugs in order to sedate victims and prevent them from speaking out. They also may ship them from city to city in order to prevent people from getting close to them.

If you meet someone who is very heavily drugged, or who doesn't know where they are, it's best to bring them to a police officer. This is doubly true if they appear to be troubled or are worried about being found out, as they could be victims of human trafficking.

It feels like someone you know is covering for something involving their lifestyle.

Traffickers will often threaten victims with physical violence, rape, or death. They may also lie and say that police will arrest them instead of the people who traffic them.

As a result, many trafficking victims will avoid police and keep a low profile. They may lie about their lives to protect traffickers. If you notice people fudging details about their home address or work, it cold be that they're being trafficked and are scared to admit it.

A house has an unusual amount of people living in it, has regular guests, but the people in the house don't ever leave.

Finally, one of the most blatant signs of a human trafficking ring is the activity going on in the house. A trafficking ring will not let slaves leave, but will have customers "visit" them if they are a sex trafficking ring.

People are not for sale. If you notice a house that seems unusually crowded, but doesn't ever have people leave, it's very possible that illegal activity is going on. So, keep your eyes and ears open.

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