As summer travel season comes to a close and many of us are traveling home or looking for that last minute get away spot, it's important to realize that we may be in a position to help those caught in human trafficking and not even know it. Here are 7 ways to spot that someone is being trafficked in an airport:
1 -- A traveler is not dressed appropriately for their route of travel.
You might notice right away that a traveler has few or no personal items. Victims may be less well dressed than their companions. They may be wearing clothes that are the wrong size, or are not appropriate for the weather on their route of travel.
2 -- They have a tattoo with a bar code, the word "Daddy."
Many people have tattoos, so a tattoo in itself is obviously not an indicator, but traffickers or pimps feel they own their victims and a barcode tattoo, or a tattoo with "Daddy" or even a man's name could be a red flag that the person is a victim.
3 -- They can't provide details of their departure location, destination, or flight information.
Traffickers employ a number of tools to avoid raising suspicion about their crime and to keep victims enslaved. Some traffickers won't tell their victims where they are located, being taken, or even what job they will have.
Because victims don't have the means to get home or pay for things like food, they must rely on traffickers in order to get by, forcing them to stay in their situation.
4 -- Their communication seems scripted, or there are inconsistencies with their story
Sometimes traffickers will coach their victims to say certain things in public to avoid suspicion. A traveler whose story seems inconsistent or too scripted might be trying to hide the real reason for their travel and merely reciting what a trafficker has told them to say.
5 - They can't move freely in an airport or on a plane, or they are being controlled, closely watched or followed.
People being trafficked into slavery are sometimes guarded in transit. A trafficker will try to ensure that the victim does not escape, or reach out to authorities for help.
6 - They are afraid to discuss themselves around others, deferring any attempts at conversation to someone who appears to be controlling them.
Fear and intimidation are two of the tools that traffickers use to control people in slavery. Traffickers often prevent victims from interacting with the public because the victim might say something that raises suspicions about their safety and freedom.
7 - Child trafficking
A child being trafficked for sexual exploitation may be dressed in a sexualized manner, or seem to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A child may appear to be malnourished and/or shows signs of physical or sexual abuse, such as bruises, scars, or cigarette burns.
What you should do?
It's important to remember that even if you spot a number of these signs, it doesn't necessarily mean someone is being trafficked. But if you do suspect someone is being trafficked, do not confront suspected traffickers or attempt to rescue suspected victims -- instead, call emergency services or alert the airport authorities.
This blog is an excerpt from CNN's 7 ways to spot that someone is being trafficked
PS: Support the fight to end human trafficking: check out our Back-to-School sale! Use coupon code B2S2015 to get 25% off our full-size product! Shipping is FREE!