Suspect Child Trafficking? Ten Warning Signs

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Prepared by Randee Doe

1. Scripted answers and inconsistencies in story.
2. Unexplained tattoos; many pimps “brand” their girls.
3. Bruising and injuries that are unexplained or recurring.
4. Multiple cellphones.
5. Dressing differently and inappropriately; or sudden change in clothing, possessions, behavior. (Part of the pimp’s grooming process is to woo with expensive gifts.)
6. Skipping school, classes, lunch, and numerous unexplained absences.
7. Much older and controlling boyfriend or friends.
8. Vocabulary radically changes, using terms common to the commercial sex industry and not part of normal teenage language.
9. Chronic runaway or homeless youth. (One-third of runaways will meet a pimp within their first forty-eight hours on the street.)
10. Alcohol or drug abuse.

On its own, one of these signs might not indicate trafficking, but two or three together are a good indication. If your gut is telling you something is not right, you may be right. By trusting your gut, you could save a child or teen’s life.

Randee Doe is a pastoral staff member at Community of Hope Church in Maricopa, Arizona, and a curriculum writer for human trafficking prevention efforts. She is also a member of the CHOG TraffickLight team.

Learn more about CHOG TraffickLight at www.CHOGTraffickLight.org.

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