Signs of Human Trafficking

Present-day bondage and modernized enslavement including sex trafficking and involuntary coercion, otherwise infamously defined as human trafficking. 

The widespread and history-long epidemic still maintains its prevalence to this day with human trafficking only becoming illegal in the United States at the turn of the century. 

Every January we recognize National Human Trafficking Month.  With it drawing to a gradual end and the Super Bowl approaching, we find it important to emphasize several of the tell tale indications of a  human trafficking victim.

The criminal and clandestine nature of this modern day form of slavery makes it incredibly difficult to process definitive statistics, this means comprehending and being able to distinguish the warning signals, red flags, and signs of human trafficking has never been more crucial. The following are potential omens that someone is being trafficked or targeted for trafficking:

Grooming in the Shape of Generosity

Traffickers will often attempt to establish a rapport through charitable means. Under the cloak of affection they will lure in potential victims with upscale travel plans, costly jewelry, or drugs. 

Noticeable Physical Wounds

Prominent discoloration and blemishes healing at obvious different times can be a sign of maltreatment over an extended period of time. Traffickers cause physical damage to  victims in order to keep them submissive.

Mental Manipulation

Emotional trauma manifests itself in many ways. Traffickers tend to manipulate affection by cultivating emotional attachment. Often times they will prey on the pain of the sufferer they have developed an emotional relationship with .


Unusual disconnection or distancing from loved ones, and startling mood swings could be an indicator of human trafficking. Be conscious of irregular behavior regarding familiar relationships seemingly at random by a potential victim.

Life presents signs to us in many forms, sometimes we choose to ignore them and other times we heed them. That can no longer be the case in respect to human trafficking. We must take notice of the clues; we must look beyond the bounds of the visible; we must be able to construe the context of the eyes. We simply can’t afford not to pay attention anymore.

Right now, for National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Life Preservers Project is hosting a toiletry drive for human trafficking survivors and homeless youth. 

Please consider donating new items including:

  • travel-size shampoo/conditioner, body wash, deodorant or bar of soap
  • lip balm
  • small travel blankets
  • gloves, hats or scarves
  • Socks

Items can be shipped to us at:

Life Preservers Project
2 Dawes Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052

If you currently suspect someone could be a victim, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).

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