Learn how to recognize if someone is being groomed, or is being trafficked.
Signs for caregivers to look for can include the following:
- Boyfriend or girlfriend seems controlling of the youth’s decisions
- Sudden changes within their social circles or new friends who are older
- Carries multiple hotel key cards
- Has a new/unusual tattoo
- Appearing scared, secretive or agitated when answering a cell phone
- Hiding their screen when someone enters the room
- Being vague/secretive about their boyfriend/girlfriend
- Using substances such as alcohol or drugs to cope and/or is coping with psychological disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, or chronic illnesses
- Taking sexual photos for unknown purposes
- New items they can’t afford (ex. unexplained money, clothing and other expensive gifts, sudden change in their appearance including how they dress and grooming habits)
- Vague talk of a new friend, but offering no further information
- Unable to give answers about where they go, or what they are doing
- Their story does not add up
- Experimenting with risky sexual behaviours or drugs
- No longer seeing previous friends
- Appears to have low self esteem
- Skipping school or running away
- Spending an extreme amount of time on the Internet
Click here to refer to the Victim Services Durham Region website on how to talk to your child about sensitive topics, and for more information. If you believe someone is in danger call your local police to report suspected human trafficking.
Common Warning Signs from the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking
- They appear to have little to no personal possessions with them.
- They are unfamiliar with the area or neighbourhood they live or work in.
- They lack official identification documents like a health card or driver’s licence.
- They avoid eye contact and social interactions.
- Their responses to casual conversation seem rehearsed or scripted.
- Someone else speaks on behalf of them, and who monitors where they go and what they do.
- Their clothing is inappropriate for the time of year or they appear underdressed.
- They have bruises or show other possible signs of physical abuse such as appearing malnourished.