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Human Trafficking

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What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is defined as forcing, fooling, or frightening someone into performing labor or sex acts for profit. It can be a difficult crime to notice, as human trafficking victims may appear as though nothing is wrong. Trafficking can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers look for people who are susceptible for various reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, and lack of a social safety net. Many victims may be so traumatized that they do not identify themselves as victims or ask for help. Some signs of human trafficking may include:

Work and Living Conditions:

• Is providing sexual acts or work in exchange for services or benefits.
• Not free to come and go as they wish.
• Has a pimp/manager or someone who does not leave them alone.
• Unpaid or paid very little.
• Works long and/or unusual hours.
• Is not allowed breaks or has unusual restrictions at work.
• Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off.
• Work or living space has tinted windows, boarded up windows or bars over windows, barbed wire, security cameras, or barriers that makes it difficult to see inside.
• Has very little possessions and may wear the same clothes over and over again.
• Not in control of their own identification documents (ID or passport) or had them taken by their employer.
• Claims that they are just visiting the area and not able to clarify where they are living.
• Not allowed or able to speak for themselves (another person may insist on being present and/or translating).

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:

• Fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid.
• Unusually afraid or anxious around law enforcement or when law enforcement is brought up.
• Avoids eye contact.
• Overly attached to one person or has one person overly attached to them.

Poor Physical Health

• No access to health care.
• Appears malnourished or skinny.
• Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture like bruises, cuts, etc.

How can I report human trafficking?

There are multiple ways to report human trafficking. If the victim appears to be an elderly or disabled adult, please contact Chatham County Social Services and make a report to the Adult Protective Services unit or contact local law enforcement.

To request help for a child, please contact Chatham County Social Services and make a report to the Child Protective Services unit or contact local law enforcement.

To request help for an individual of any age, you may contact either local law enforcement or Project No Rest.  Project No Rest can be reached at 1-888-373-7888 or via text message. Text HELP to “BeFree” (233733). 



Human Trafficking Laws in North Carolina

Project No Rest (North Carolina statewide project)

United States Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign