You're at a restaurant. Or a nail salon. Or talking with a hotel maid. And you think you've found a trafficking victim.
Here are questions to ask if you suspect someone is being trafficked. Most of these apply to tweens, teens, and young adults, not young children.
Keep in mind that victims are brainwashed and traumatized; they will protect their traffickers so you will probably not get straight or truthful answers to these questions, but you can always ask.
Make your conversation just that—a conversation. Don’t act like you’re interrogating her or she’ll run. Don’t ask all these questions or she’ll know you suspect something. Victims are taught that the only ones they can trust are their captors.
If you believe you’ve found a victim, do not try to rescue her yourself. Child trafficking is organized crime and you will put her life and yours in danger. Instead call 911 or the National Human Trafficking hotline: 888-3737-888.
- What type of work do you do?
- Are you getting paid?
- Is anything taken out of your pay?
- Can you leave your job if you want to?
- Can you come and go as you please? Are you afraid to leave? Why?
- Have you been hurt or threatened if you tried to leave?
- Has your family been threatened if you try to leave?
- What are your working and living conditions like? How are you treated?
- Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom?
- Are there locks on your doors and windows so you can’t get out?
- Do you have your passport, driver’s license, or identification? Who has it?
- Has someone taken it away from you?
- Do you live with your employer?
- Where do you sleep and eat?
- Are you in debt to your employer?
- How did you arrive in this country (if she’s not a U.S. citizen)?
Excerpted from Audacious: The bold, brave, brazen plan to shut down the global child sex industry, by Diana Scimone
Sources: U.S. Department of State, Polaris Project, U.S. Department of Justice, Born2Fly Project