Spot the Signs: Sexual Exploitation

Spot the signs and change an individual’s future

Human trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people, through deception or coercion, for the purpose of exploitation. By spotting the signs you can help change the course of an individual’s future.

Spot the signs

Sex trafficking is a lucrative trade that predominantly affects women and girls. Sexual exploitation occurs when someone is deceived, coerced or forced to take part in sexual activity. Ways in which someone could be sexually exploited include but aren’t limited to: prostitution, brothels, escort agencies, pole/lap dancing, forced marriage, webcamming, phone sex lines, internet chat rooms, mail order brides, pornography and sex tourism.

Someone may be being sexually exploited if they:

  • appear to be guarded, accompanied, or have their movement restricted
  • show signs of physical abuse, such as cigarette burns, bruises or untreated medical conditions
  • are not allowed to keep or have limited access to the money they make
  • show evidence of being forced, intimidated or coerced into providing sexual services
  • show psychological signs of emotional trauma such as: fear, anxiety, isolation, confusion, or a lack of self-esteem.

Remember: Spotting one of these signs may not mean that someone is being exploited or trafficked, but seeing one should be a reason to be suspicious. The more signs you see, the more likely that this person is being controlled, exploited and trafficked.

What to do if you spot the signs

If you suspect that someone is being coerced and exploited, or you are yourself a victim of human trafficking, call your nearest local authorities.


Be part of the fight against human trafficking. If you see something suspicious locally, add to the global picture by downloading the STOP APP today.

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