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Know the signs2018-11-12T13:04:28+00:00

#KNOWTHESIGNS to make a difference

The abuse, exploitation and trafficking of children and vulnerable people are often hidden issues which are difficult to identify.
Many victims don’t tell anyone what is happening to them, and many may not even realise that they are being abused or exploited.

If you #KNOWTHESIGNS, you can help protect people from these forms of violence.

CHILD ABUSE

A child or adolescent could be being abused (sexually, emotionally or physically) if they…

Act out violently against others
Become secretive and reluctant to share information
Are reluctant to go home, or want to run away from home
Act withdrawn or anxious
Are unable to explain injuries or have other physical symptoms (including soreness, pregnancy, STIs)
Avoid being alone with certain people
Exhibit age-inappropriate sexual behaviour or knowledge
Appear to be the subject of an adult’s sexual attention
Are on their own without appropriate adult supervision
Are secretive about their phone/online activity

LABOUR EXPLOITATION

An adult, child or adolescent may be being exploited through labour if they…

Are not free to leave or come and go as they wish
They are controlled by another person
Are unpaid, paid very little, or only paid through tips
Are lacking official identification documents
They display overly fearful, depressed, and submissive behaviour
Work excessively long and/or unusual hours
Are not allowed breaks or suffer under unusual restrictions at work
Owe a large debt and are unable to pay it off
Were recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of their work
Have little to no knowledge of the local language, and/or they only know labour-related words
Are distrustful or suspicious of authority figures/law enforcement

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (ADULTS)

An adult could be being sexually exploited if they…

Are isolated from their family and friends
Are unable to explain injuries, possessions or income
Have strange markings/brandings/tattoos (e.g. ways for exploiters/pimps to identify them)
Are being controlled by another person
Display paranoia or lack of trust
Have untreated health or dental problems, particularly sexually-transmitted infections
Display a lack of self-esteem with feelings of shame and humiliation
Avoid making eye contact and interacting with others

CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

A child or adolescent could be being sexually exploited if they…

Seem to not know where they are
Are easily startled, agitated or afraid
Act unusually withdrawn or depressed
Are unable to explain injuries or possessions
Have strange markings/brandings/tattoos (e.g. ways for exploiters/pimps to identify them)
Are seen in a hotel without staying there/other explanation
Are accompanied by an older ‘boyfriend’ or vaguely identified male companion
Are dressed up to look older than they are
Often return home late or are staying out all night
Attempt self-harm or suicide

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

An adult could be a victim of trafficking if they…

Are lacking official identification documents
Avoid eye contact, social interaction, and authority figures/law enforcement
Have tattoos/branding on their body (e.g. ways for traffickers to identify them)
Are not allowed to go into public alone, or speak for themselves
Seem to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction
Show signs of physical injuries and abuse (victims of human trafficking are often beaten in areas that will not damage their appearance)
Seem to not know where they are, with an inability to clarify where they are staying
Have little to no knowledge of the local language
Were recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of their work
Live somewhere with high security measures (e.g. opaque or boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, cameras)
Have few or no personal possessions, or control over their finances

CHILD TRAFFICKING

A child or adolescent could be a victim of trafficking if they…

Are unsure of where they are (e.g. what country, city or town they are in)
Have strange markings/brandings/tattoos (e.g. ways for traffickers to identify them)
Are accompanied by an older ‘boyfriend’ or vaguely identified male companion
Are easily startled, agitated or afraid
Are dressed up to look older than they are
Have no freedom of movement, or no time for playing
Have no documentation or falsified documentation
Have no immediate family living with them
Are unable or reluctant to divulge personal details (e.g. tell address or name to authority figure)

What You Can Do

The best way to fight and protect children and vulnerable people from abuse, exploitation and trafficking is by REPORTING any cases you believe may be taking place. Trust your instincts, and don’t hesitate. If you see something, say something.

HOW TO REPORT