Signs of victims

  • Appearance – Signs of physical or psychological abuse look malnourished or unkempt or appear withdraw.
  • Isolation – Victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control/influence of others, rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work.
  • Poor living conditions – Victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and/or living and working at the same address.
  • Few or no personal belongings – Victims may have no identification documents, have a few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes in and day out.  What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work.
  • Restricted freedom of movement – Victims may have no identification documents (e.g. Passport), have few clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work, e.g. wearing trainers in a car wash.
  • Unusual travel times – They may be dropped off/collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night
  • Reluctant to seek help – Victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitate to talk to strangers and fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family and/or friends.

Signs specific to child victims

  • Is the child baring cared for by an adult that is not their parent or legal guardian and is the quality of the relationship between the child and their adult carer poor and a reason for concern?  Some children may not be attending school or registered with a GP.
  • Are there a number of unrelated children found at one address?  Does the child move location frequently?
  • Children who come into contact with authorities often disappear and are re-trafficked.
  • Children may not always demonstrate outward signs of distress and have a ‘bond’ with those exploiting them and have been groomed to not disclose their abuse – however, they are likely to be very scared and traumatised.

More information