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A Comprehensive Guide of Trusted Resources to Report Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation
5 MIN
Education

“I’VE SEEN SOMETHING THAT MAY BE SUSPICIOUS OF TRAFFICKING OR IS INAPPROPRIATE. HOW DO I REPORT IT?”

Reporting 101
Be an O.U.R. Responder
Report an In-Person Situation
Report Online Exploitation

REPORTING 101

Please exercise good judgement when making a report. All tips are taken seriously, however, conspiracy-related reports from people with no direct knowledge of trafficking situations can overwhelm services meant for victims.

We are not a law enforcement body and cannot investigate trafficking leads. If you or someone you know is in danger, please contact local authorities immediately using all relevant channels of communication including: telephone, email, submissions via law enforcement websites, etc. Please leverage investigative bodies such as city police departments, county sheriff offices, state police and federal law enforcement including the FBI or HSI. Alternatively you can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or visit their website at www.humantraffickinghotline.org to report a tip.

We have compiled a guide of helpful resources to report potential human trafficking and exploitation cases. Although we are not a reporting agency, if you have exhausted all methods as outlined here you may fill out the leads form included in this blog post. 

Be an O.U.R. Responder

OBSERVE

There are physical, emotional, and behavioral signs of human trafficking to look for.

Some of these signs may include:

  • Signs of violence, concussions, broken bones, burn marks, cuts, bruising
  • Similar tattoos in the same location on two or more people, or a tattoo that looks like branding
  • Malnutrition
  • Dressed inappropriately for the weather outside or for their age
  • Living in unsuitable living conditions
  • Fear or depression
  • Having large amounts of cash on-hand, or slips of paper with dollar amounts and contact info
  • Multiple cell phones, hotel keys, false IDs
  • Evidence of being controlled, loss of freedom

This is just a small list of many potential signs of human trafficking. Some signs and situations may be more nuanced, so trust your intuition and try to observe more of the story. Human trafficking can happen in any neighborhood, city, state, or country.

Take O.U.R.’s free online training for a more in-depth learning experience with videos, quizzes, and examples. It takes around 45 minutes – 1 hour to complete.

SPEAK UP

Asking the right questions will help you determine if the person you are interacting with is a victim of trafficking and in need of help.

  • You can start by speaking directly with the potential victim and starting a simple conversation such as “What is your name?” or “What do you do for work?”
  • If appropriate and safe, consider asking bolder questions such as “Do you get paid for your work?” or “Has someone you work with ever threatened you with physical harm?”
  • Engaging with a trafficker can put you and/or the victim in serious danger. If you suspect a trafficker is present, back off and find a safe space to alert local authorities. Do not say or do anything to compromise your personal safety.
  • Follow the simple phrase: “If you see something, say something.”

REPORT

  • If you ever encounter a minor engaging in commercial sex, call 911 or contact local authorities immediately.
  • In urgent situations, you may want to step away to alert authorities. If a suspected victim or trafficker gets out of your sight, you can still report what you saw.
  • If you decided not to report something but days later felt like you should have, know that it is never too late to report a tip. See below for trusted resources to report both online and in-person situations.

Operation Underground Railroad does not provide emergency services. We cannot intervene or participate in investigations without an invitation from law enforcement. Here are the steps to take if you need to report a situation.

REPORTING AN IN-PERSON SITUATION

United States Resources

  1. If you or another person are in immediate danger, please call 911 to receive help from local authorities.
  2. If you have information about the person/people potentially being trafficked, you can report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and they can give you recommendations about what to do. The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 888-373-7888. Visit their website to learn how you can also report through live chat, text, an online form, or email. https://humantraffickinghotline.org/
  3. If you feel you have enough details, you can report them using the O.U.R. Leads Form. We will be in touch should our law enforcement contacts need more information. We do not work independently of law enforcement. Our law enforcement contacts will be the first entity that receives these leads to avoid bifurcation of efforts. http://bit.ly/2J5iNs2

Global Resources

  1. If you or another person are in immediate danger, please alert local authorities.
  2. If you have information about the person/people potentially being trafficked, you can report it to your country’s national hotline. You can reference It’s A Penalty’s map to find the appropriate reporting mechanism in every country worldwide.
  3. If you feel you have enough details, you can report them using the O.U.R. Leads Form. We will be in touch should our law enforcement contacts need more information. We do not work independently of law enforcement. Our law enforcement contacts will be the first entity these receives these leads, to avoid bifurcation of efforts. http://bit.ly/2J5iNs2

REPORTING Online EXPLOITATION

If you or another person are in immediate danger, please alert local authorities first.

Many social media platforms have in-app tools to report human trafficking and child exploitation. For example, here is Facebook’s page to report human trafficking. Other platform’s tools, if they exist, can be found in their help centers.

Every U.S. state has an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Most states have a contact email to report online child exploitation. If your state has a reporting form or email provided, you can report your information there. Check out the list here.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has a CyberTipline to report anything to do with child exploitation or abuse. Information entered into this report will be made available to law enforcement for possible investigation. 

If you have seen child sexual abuse material and you live abroad, you can use this search tool to find your country’s reporting form or hotline.

Lastly, you can also report using the O.U.R. Leads Form. We will be in touch should our law enforcement contacts need more information. We do not work independently of law enforcement. Our law enforcement contacts will be the first entity that receives these leads to avoid bifurcation of efforts. http://bit.ly/2J5iNs2

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Comments
(9)
O.U.R.'S FIRST 31 DAYS OF 2020 - O.U.R. Stories
2020-02-07 09:18:39
[…] A Comprehensive Guide of Trusted Resources to Report Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation […]
Reply
Not a Conspiracy. What You Can Do to End Child Sex Slavery and Trafficking | Huckleberry Bonnets Co.
2020-07-29 20:38:40
[…] about the warning signs of sex slavery and child trafficking and report it immediately HERE […]
Reply
P McKinzie
2020-08-09 09:28:00
I have customers that visit my lingerie store from time to time that don't seem to fit the profile of our regular customers. They don't easily engage in conversation or make eye contact, seem uncomfortable with us speaking to them, usually young teens & usually very thin. They almost always make a purchase of items of a sexy nature .... not an every bra for example. I would like to have something I could post on the bulletin board of our fitting rooms that would provide a way for a young woman being sex trafficked to reach out for help. But I don't know what to say & where to direct them. Would appreciate any suggestions you may have.
Reply
Lisa
2020-08-20 08:17:38
Maybe a pink marker in the dressing room so they could make a heart on their exposed hand or arm? Like an alert tattoo? Or color of your choosing?
Anon
2020-08-25 15:17:55
Or in the dressing room have them push the “help” button and verbalize “code Pink” when staff goes to help the individual.
CRYSTAL MENARD
2020-09-27 06:42:05
Hi. I am curious and concerned about your story. Did you find get the training recommended in other comments? Have the girls you mentioned come into the store since you last posted? And have you contact law enforcement? Thank you .
Anne Marie Ballenger, Ph.D.
2020-09-02 14:38:12
I would recommend that you take the training offered on the operation underground railroad website so that you can have an educated and thoughtful eye to observe, take details and report. posting the 1888- 373-7888 human trafficking help number in your dressing rooms is a good start. In addition I would contact your local law enforcement agency who probably have community education/action officer who could \provide helpful advice and recommendations. Please note that if you encourage people to speak with you and your staff - that you could be placing yourself in harms way. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of offered training programs before embarking on your active role. I encourage you on your bravely and commitment to helping others.
Reply
Austin
2020-09-14 03:24:53
I like Dr. Marie's reply. Decisions are best made after being properly educated on the subject. I sincerely commend you for the thoughtful consideration you have for these girls.
Don’t be fooled: Help the cause of protecting children, fighting human trafficking by getting educated, staying informed with facts, not falsehoods - O.U.R. Stories
2020-09-08 06:15:17
[…] of helpful resources to report potential human trafficking and exploitation cases — please visit here for more information. Although we are not a reporting agency, if you have exhausted all methods as […]
Reply
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