Warning Signs

Desaturated rear view portrait of a young girl looking out through a leaded glass window decorated with a diamond pattern.  Horizontal shot. Film grain added.

Pay special attention to any person, especially a child, who is…

  • Unusually fearful, anxious, or submissive, or showing signs of physical abuse.
  • Monitored, controlled, or guarded by someone else at all times, or who is prohibited from interacting with others.
  • Unaware of what city they are in or unable to explain the purpose of their stay.
  • Not in control of their own money or documents.
  • A child in a suspicious circumstance, such as being alone at a hotel.

Additional Warning Signs

Physical Appearance

  • Has injuries or other signs of abuse and is reluctant to explain them.
  • Appears malnourished.
  • Branded or marked with a tattoo, such as a man’s name, symbol of money, or a barcode.
  • Dressed in a provocative manner or in the same clothes, regardless of weather or circumstance.


  • Has very few personal possessions.
  • Has an unexplained, sudden increase in money, clothing, or possessions like jewelry without explanation.
  • Doesn’t carry identification.
  • Has a number of hotel keys or key cards.


  • Claims to be an adult, though their appearance suggests adolescence.
  • Seems to move frequently from place to place.
  • Talks about an older boyfriend or sex with an older man.
  • Has inconsistencies in their story.
  • Claims to be visiting, and can’t state what city they’re in or for how long.
  • Isn’t able to speak for themself.
  • Has sexually explicit profiles on social networking sites.
  • Is not enrolled in school or is consistently absent.
  • Seems to be withdrawn, depressed, or “checked out.”

Lack Of Control

  • Accompanied by someone who seems to control their every move.
  • Seems scripted in the way they speak.
  • Doesn’t have control over their own money.
  • Can’t come and go from place to place on their own.
  • Not in control of their identification or travel documents.

Does someone you know need help?

Contact the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-55-TNHTH.