Child abuse, exploitation and trafficking are often hidden issues which are difficult to identify. Many children don’t tell anyone what is happening to them, or even realise that they are being abused or exploited.

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

Signs of 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  • Act withdrawn or anxious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

Signs of 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  • Act unusually withdrawn or depressed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 olderboyfriend’ 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

Signs of Child Trafficking

A child or adolescent could 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 olderboyfriend’ 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 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.

REPORT CHILD ABUSE, EXPLOITATION OR TRAFFICKING
BE PART OF THE GLOBAL MOVEMENT TO PROTECT CHILDREN