Warning Signs…


  • Connector.

    ...YOU MAY BE IN CONTACT WITH A VICTIM OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

    • Person may be accompanied everywhere by someone who speaks for her/him
    • Person my appear fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense or nervous/paranoid
    • Person may have unexplained bruises or signs of physical abuse
    • Person may have tattoos or branding by exploiter
    • Person may show signs of malnourishment
    • Person may be travelling with minimal or inappropriate luggage/belongings
    • Person may not have control of her/his own identification documents (ID or passport)
    • Person may appear to be unaware of local surroundings even though they have been in the area for an extended period of time

  • Connector.

    ...YOU MAY BE IN CONTACT WITH AN EXPLOITER

    • He/she may seem controlling or overly jealous
    • Can be much older than you
    • Tells you he loves you early in the relationship and makes grand promises
    • Promises you things that are expensive and out of reach
    • Buys you expensive things like designer clothing, purses, cell phones, etc.; takes you to expensive restaurants
    • Doesn’t tell you the details of his/her job
    • Becomes demanding about sex
    • Recommends ways that you can make lots of money
    • Encourages you to model, dance or take revealing pictures of yourself for payment
    • Makes you feel that you are responsible for his/her financial security
    • Could become violent
    • He tells you that you owe him a debt

  • Connector.

    ...FOR PARENTS

    • Online at all hours of the day
    • Has unexplained new, expensive clothes, phones, cell phone plans, tattoos, etc.
    • Has boyfriend who is controlling and may be much older – though not necessarily. Trafficking among peers is increasingly common
    • Has unexplained bruises
    • Shows behavioural change
    • Disappears on weekends or at night
    • Has new circle of friends you don’t know or becomes isolated from former friends
    • Unexplained frequent absence from school, grades decline
    • New or constant focus on personal grooming habits regarding appearance – nails, makeup, hair etc.

  • Connector.

    ...FOR HOTELS/MOTELS

    • Person pays cash for duration of their stay
    • He/she may seem controlling a person they are with
    • Could be bringing in another person who is much younger (see warning signs of persons with an exploiter)
    • Only one person comes to check out the room, but there is another person(s) using the room
    • Person has multiple rooms in same hotel, controls the key card access
    • Constant foot traffic to the room in 30-to-60 minute stays at all times of the day
    • One person stays in the room while the other is seen coming-and-going after a visitor to the room arrives/leaves
    • The guest asks to switch rooms frequently during their stay
    • The guest uses or asks for a room farthest away from the lobby and near an exit

  • Connector.

    ...FOR TAXI AND UBER

    • Passenger may ask to take them to known areas where women and girls are sexually exploited
    • One passenger may prevent the other (potential victim) from speaking
    • There may be constant request for drivers to drop-off and pick-up passengers at the same location frequently throughout the day or week, such as a private residence or hotel
    • Passenger may be directed where to go by someone else, and may not be familiar with Canadian currency
    • Driving passengers to known places where criminal activity is occurring and victims are being abused

  • Connector.

    ...FOR BUS AND TRAIN TRANSPORT

    • Person meets the passenger directly after arriving at destination and controls their movement
    • Passenger has signs of physical abuse, malnutrition, appears fearful and won’t speak
    • Passenger has no identification documentation (ID or passport), and someone else has purchased the transit ticket for them
    • Bus or train ticket is paid for in cash only
    • Passenger makes frequent, monthly trips in between cities or regions


1. Warning Signs sections of this fact sheet taken from RCMP Human Trafficking packages and the Hamilton Police Services “Warning Signs Human Trafficking Fact Sheet” and Shared Hope International.
2. Ibid