Is child trafficking happening in your community?

Child trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining a child for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Under federal law, sex trafficking (such as prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, etc.) does not require there be force, fraud, or coercion if the victim is under 18. 

The following information from Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services tells you the children who are most at risk for trafficking, the warning signs of trafficking, and what you can do if you suspect child trafficking is happening in your community.

Children & Youth who are at risk for human trafficking:

  • Youth in the foster care system
  • Youth who identify as LGBTQ
  • Youth who are homeless or runaway
  • Youth with disabilities
  • Youth with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders
  • Youth with a history of sexual abuse
  • Youth with a history of being involved in the child welfare system
  • Youth with family dysfunction

Human Trafficking Identification/Warning Signs: 

  • A youth that has been verified to be under 18 and is in any way involved in the commercial sex industry, or has a record of prior arrest for prostitution or related charges
  • Has an explicitly sexual online profile
  • Excessive frequenting of internet chat rooms or classified sites
  • Depicts elements of sexual exploitation in drawing, poetry, or other modes of creative expression
  • Frequent or multiple sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancies
  • Lying about or not being aware of their true age
  • Having no knowledge of personal data, such as but not limited to: age, name, and/or date of birth
  • Having no identification
  • Wearing sexually provocative clothing
  • Wearing new clothes of any style, getting hair and/or nails done with no financial means
  • Secrecy about whereabouts
  • Having late nights or unusual hours
  • Having a tattoo that she/she is reluctant to explain
  • Being in a controlling or dominating relationship
  • Not having control of own finances
  • Exhibit hyper-vigilance or paranoid behaviors
  • Express interest in or in relationships with adults or much older men/women

If you suspect a child is the victim of trafficking, call 911, or you can call CHILDLINE, Pennsylvania’s 24/7 child abuse hotline, at 1-800-932-0313.

Information from

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