Human Trafficking Patient Recognition Indicators

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Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to exploit someone for labor or commercial sex. Any minor exploited for commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking. Each year throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders; and within the United States, thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked. Many of these victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs; instead, they are forced into prostitution, involuntary domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to combating the global crime of human trafficking. Through public outreach, victim protection, and first responder training, DHS works diligently to prevent human trafficking before it occurs, to protect victims when it has occurred, and to minimize reoccurrence by conducting investigations to bring traffickers to justice. DHS coordinates and unites these initiatives under the Blue Campaign.

Approximately one third of human trafficking victims are treated by medical providers. Similar to observing patients for signs of abuse, fire and emergency medical services responders should be aware of the signs of human trafficking and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement at 866-347-2423 or online at

Patient Recognition Indicators

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Download Patient Recognition Indicator Cards in PDF Format

Victims of human trafficking may look like many of the people you help.

Classical presentations found in trafficking victims:

Recognizing the combined signs will help you accurately alert local or federal authorities for investigation. For a victim of trafficking, this may save a life.

Look for the following indicators:

Human Trafficking Awareness Resources

DHS has a variety of human trafficking resources, including specific resources for the fire and emergency medical services community. Please share the materials below with fire and emergency medical services agencies and personnel. For additional information please visit the DHS website or contact the USFA's Lisa Makar.