We’ve talked about the stages of human trafficking and what makes femme-identifying youth vulnerable or a target. It’s not always easy to know if you or your friend is being trafficked. Here are some signs to look for:
- Uses language/vocabulary related to trafficking such as: “u in the game” or “be my rider” or ‘telly ting”
- Excessive primping – getting your nails or hair done.
- Show signs of trauma and/or abuse – withdrawn, not trusting
- Gets Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs), or becomes pregnant
- Seems disconnected or isolated from the outside world and is withdrawing from friends
- Is secretive, very protective of her privacy
- There are signs of a controlling or abusive relationship like not being allowed to see friends or family
- She is always with her ‘boyfriend’/’partner’ who seems very controlling
- Has unexplained money for clothes, getting hair did and jewellery
- Has no identification; all of her documents like birth certificate/passport, health care have been taken away
- Shows evidence of being in the sex trade: large number of condoms, 2 phones, lube, etc
These signs are indications, and don’t each individually mean that someone is being trafficked.
If you read through and see a lot of signs, or are concerned that you or someone you know is being trafficked in Canada – check out East Metro Youth Services for more information and support. Reaching out for help could break the isolation.