The following are warnings and red flags of behaviors or instances that, when combined, may be signs that a youth is a victim of sex trafficking. One of these factors alone does not necessarily mean the young person is being sexually exploited or trafficked. In addition, not all victims exhibit all of these signs. This list is intended to be a general guide of possible signs that a youth is or may be a victim of sex trafficking.
Warning signs of trafficking:
The youth has a significantly older boyfriend.
The youth shows signs of physical trauma such as unexplained bruises, black eye, cuts or other marks.
The youth shows signs of emotional trauma including increased fear, anxiety, depression, tension, and/or nervousness.
The youth frequently travels with an older male or person who is not their guardian.
The youth is labeled as a chronic runaway.
The youth has multiple delinquent charges.
The youth has, or is currently experiencing homelessness.
The youth has special marked tattoos, or branding on his/her body (that he/she might be unwilling to explain).
The youth is using substances on a regular basis.
The youth is increasingly absent from school or missing from home, with no explanation of their whereabouts.
The youth has started accumulating new clothes, shoes, and/or jewelry that he/she can’t account for.
The youth has a new cell phone that he/she cannot account for.
The youth has an increase in income without explanation.
The youth is very secretive about his/her whereabouts.
The youth is chatting online with people his/her parents or friends have never met.
The youth has possession of prepaid cards and or hotel keys or receipts.
The youth has suddenly changed his/her appearance such as dressing more provocatively.
The youth has been charged or has a previous record of prostitution.
The youth has an explicitly sexual online profile found on internet community sites, internet classified ads, and/or social media sites.
The youth has no identification or is not in control of his/her identification documents.
The youth gives conflicting personal information or stories to law enforcement.
The youth has multiple or frequent Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections.
The youth has an unstable home environment.
The youth has family history in the commercial sex industry.
Remember, if the age of an individual has been verified to be under 18 and the individual is in anyway involved in the commercial sex industry, he/she is a victim.
Georgia Cares is a non- profit 501(c)(3) entity. We are the state coordinating agency connecting services and supports for child victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. We strive to bring hope, build resilience, and give every child the opportunity to thrive.