Human trafficking: What are the warning signs?

Ohio law enforcement officials investigate hundreds of human trafficking cases each year, with the Attorney General’s office identifying 208 victims in 2017, according to the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.

While most people think human trafficking is a global issue, it’s easy to forget that it can happen in your own backyard.

Human trafficking is hidden in plain sight, so it’s important to know the warning signs.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says to look for someone who won’t answer questions and has another person speak for them. When victims of human trafficking do answer questions, the answer can be short or seem coached.

Here are some other ways to recognize human trafficking, according to the Department of Homeland Security:

  • Does the person seem disconnected from family, friends, community or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped going to school?
  • Has the person had a sudden change in behavior?
  • Is the juvenile participating in sex acts for money?
  • Does the person seem confused or show signs of mental and physical abuse?
  • Is the person fearful or submissive?
  • Are there signs of the person not having food, water, sleep or medical care?
  • Is the person often with someone they defer to or someone who seems to be controlling?
  • Does the person not have any personal possessions or a stable living situation?
  • Do they have unsuitable living conditions?
  • Can the person leave where they live freely? Are there unreasonable security measures?

If you think someone is a victim of human trafficking, call Homeland Security’s hotline at 1-866-347-2423. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has a local human trafficking line at 937-225-4357.

On Thursday, April 25, News Center 7's Sean Cudahy is taking a deeper look at human trafficking in Dayton and how victims end up in the Miami Valley. To learn more, tune in at 5:30 p.m.

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