High Risk of Sex Trafficking
- Use of slang from “the life”, or referring to a boyfriend as “daddy.”
- Unaccounted time, vagueness or secrecy concerning whereabouts
- Keeping late-nights or unusual hours
- Wearing sexually provocative clothing. It should be noted that not all children in the commercial sex industry wear such clothing, and sexually provocative clothing is not a warning sign in and of itself. Wearing new clothes of any style, or getting hair or nails done with no financial means to do this independently is a more general indicator of potential sexual exploitation.
- Tattoos. Youth are commonly branded with their exploiter’s name tattooed on the neck, chest, or arms.
- Lies about their age. Be sensitive to clues in behavior or appearance that could indicate that a child is lying about their age.
- An explicitly sexual social media profile
- Alludes to sexual exploitation in drawing, poetry, or other creative expression. Prints lyrics to music that allude to the sex industry.
- Frequent or multiple sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancies
- Homeless or runaway youth. They may be forced to exchange sex for survival needs, such as housing or shelter. This can lead to recruitment into the commercial sex industry or a more organized or regular trading of sex for money, shelter or things of value.
- Youth living in group homes and youth shelters.
- Truancy or tardiness from school may be a sign that sexual exploitation is occurring during school hours, or during hours when the young person should otherwise be sleeping.
- Family dysfunction (emotional, sexual or physical abuse, neglect, absent caregiver, substance abuse). Abuse is a major risk factor for commercially sexually exploited children and therefore may be a warning sign.
Child Sex Trafficking in America: Fact Sheet for Parents and Guardians