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 commecially sexually exploited children and therefore may be a warning sign.