Reporting suspicions of possible missing child or child trafficking: Part II: How

This is a continuation of Reporting Suspicions of Possible Missing Child or Child Trafficking: Part I: My Story.

First of all, please get out your cell phones and program in the following numbers:

National Center for Missing And Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)

Human Trafficking Information and Referal Hotline: 1.888.3737.888

Non-emergency Police Number in Your Area: Sorry, can’t help you here… you will have to look this up

I hope that you never have to use these number for your own child or for anyone else… but if you do, often it is important to have the numbers immediately.

Also, if you feel something is wrong– trust your gut.  At worst, you could be wrong.  At best, you could save a life!  I wish I had done more in my case– I wish I had gotten someone to check the guy out and not called after the fact.  Don’t give yourself that type of doubt: call.

Here are some red flags that people can be aware of…

Common Work and Living Conditions
The Individual(s) in Question:

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous / paranoid behavior
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up “law enforcement”
  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health

  • Lacks health care
  • Appears malnourished
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)


  • Claims of “just visiting” and inability to clarify where he/she is staying / address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

Children in particular

  • Is sexually explicit or mature beyond age
  • Is seen being touched by adult in provocative manner
  • Is being promised things by adult
  • Does not seem to know the person(s) he/she is traveling with

If you see any of these red flags or have a “bad feeling” or “gut feeling”, call and make a report to the numbers above.

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