#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.


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others Become secretive and reluctant to share information Are reluctant to go home, or want to run away from home Act withdrawn or anxious Are unable to explain injuries or have other physical symptoms (including soreness, pregnancy, STIs) Avoid being alone with certain people Exhibit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


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


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


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Seem to not know where they are Are easily startled, agitated or afraid Act unusually withdrawn or depressed Are unable to explain injuries or possessions Have strange markings/brandings/tattoos (e.g. ways for exploiters/pimps to identify them) Are seen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


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