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Unfortunately, it's no secret that people are becoming the victims of human trafficking all around us.

Every country, city, town, and region can be the site of abduction, where a vulnerable person is groomed to be free labor or the victim of predatory sex

But even though we know it's happening, it's difficult to locate. To do so requires a trained eye that knows the warning signs to look for.

Luckily, some Redditors used a thread to inform themselves--and all of us in the proess.

PermanentSeeker asked, "People who help fight human trafficking: what are some tips you have for spotting illegal activity, and reporting it?"

Some comments wasted no time giving pragmatic advice.

They offered specific signs and behaviors to look for, how to double check, and what to do when the unfortunate truth seems likely.

Missing Things 

"I had a loved one pulled into the sex trafficking industry as an adult. So, I can offer a couple pointers for spotting adults who are being sold as sex workers."

  1. "Missing shoes. It's hard to run away in a city barefoot. Blisters are a dead giveaway."
  2. "Not carrying a cell phone, identification, or the purse or wallet to put it in. Their pimp likes to hold these hostage to prohibit contact with the outside world and to make it difficult to purchase long distance transportation."

-- LoneQuietus81

Trust Yourself 

"I worked as front desk for a hotel, had a couple of experiences with this."

"Look for groups of 2-3 where one person does all of the talking, specifically when the other(s) look scared, are overly covered, cringe when the talker is speaking, or look under the influence of something."

"Ensure you get ID from all parties when you suspect something is going on, note down their room number and names given, trust your gut, what we call a 'gut feeling' is a combination of millions of tiny factors you might not knowingly be aware of, tiny details like hitched breathing, microexpressions, specific lying tells, environmental factors, etc."

"These all add up and let your subconscious mind make connections that your general mind might not. Trust that feeling if you suspect something is wrong, and contact the police to inform them of a suspected human trafficking issue."

"Both times my gut told me to call it in I ended up regrettably being correct."

-- tsavong117

Memorized Lines 

"Where I live, human trafficking is a big problem and there was a huge bust at a hotel not too long ago."

"Usually hotels, motels, and airlines are trained to look out for signs of trafficking. Red flags include those who are very scared or nervous around specific people or talk like their following a script."

"Those who are targeted usually come from broken homes or poor countries with the promise of a better life or how all of their problems can be solved by doing X. It can also include being showered with expensive or luxury gifts as a start of the luring in process."

-- Kevin-W


"Here in Spain we get a lot of women from eastern Europe and sub saharan Africa, some pay for their trip to europe this way, some are blackmailed and some are lured offers of jobs like cleaning, or low level administrative jobs (secretaries, paper pushing) and end up on in a roadside brothel."

"If you´re a young woman in a poor area of eastern europe and you get a offer for a easy job in germany, france, spain or the netherlands. be VERY suspicious."

-- Aevum1

Litmus Test 

"My sociology professor told us if we ever see a child at a motel/hotel , make sure to say hi to them , and you can pretty well judge by their reaction if they're safe or not"

"also it's a bit harder to do as a man"

-- Ok_Act_1214

Others offered a more general contribution to the discussion. They reiterated just how common human trafficking is in communities everywhere.

They advised we don't look for the spectacular images we imagine, but the subtle ones we don't.

The Thine Line Between Slavery and Labor 

"Most of human trafficking is not the movie kind. It's more the kind where an ethnic restaurant brings over a cook from their home country and they have to work unreasonable hours to pay back for the trip."

"Or maybe it's a maid or a construction worker who works below minimum wage and can't have their passport back."

"So look for people who work long hours at sub-legal wages."

-- Pontus_Pilates

And finally, some people embraced contemporary technology's place in the fight to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Nifty, and Significant

"There's an app you can download called TraffickCam."

"Any time you stay at a hotel, upload photos of your room. Those photos are incorporated into an artificial intelligence algorithm that helps identify locations of trafficking victims via background details."

-- m31td0wn

Normally, I'd close by encouraging readers to examine their own lives and see how their own experience relates. But of course, I sincerely hope it does not.

But if reading this puts something on your radar at all, don't hesitate to make a call.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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