Identifying the Victims

For those who come into contact with immigrant populations, such as medical clinicians or social service providers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has come up with the following checklist of characteristics to look out for:

• Evidence of being controlled

• Evidence of inability to move or leave job

• Bruises or other signs of physical abuse

• Fear or depression

• Not speaking on own behalf and/or non-English speaking

• No passport or other forms of identification or documentation

To determine whether someone has been a trafficking victim, HHS suggests asking these key questions:

• What type of work do you do?

• Can you leave your job if you want to?

• Can you come and go as you please?

• Have you or your family been threatened?

• What are your working and living conditions like?

• Where do you sleep and eat?

• Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the bathroom?

• Are there locks on your doors/windows so you cannot get out?

• Has your identification or documentation been taken away from you?

If you believe you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, you can phone the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline, 1-888-373-7888 to get more information or to begin the process of helping the victim. For more information on the subject of trafficking, go to

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