Red Flags of a Victim

On March 19, 2015 PUMC held our first Family Forum. Sgt Vint Boggis of the Peterborough PD provided an informative evening on human trafficking. This included red flags to look for in children you know, as well as how to protect your own children. With abuse and even human trafficking cases in our state, and in this region, we can all be vigilant and help prevent another victim.

It’s vital to watch for red flags of abuse, such as:

  • Withdrawal from friends or usual activities

  • Changes in behavior — such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity — or changes in school performance

  • Depression, anxiety or a sudden loss of self-confidence

  • An apparent lack of supervision

  • Frequent absences from school or reluctance to ride the school bus

  • Reluctance to leave school activities, as if he or she doesn’t want to go home

  • Attempts at running away

  • Rebellious or defiant behavior

  • Attempts at suicide


In addition, some indicators raise a red flag that a person may be a victim of human trafficking. Take notice in situations where a person:

  • Chronic runaway/homeless youth

  • Is lying about age/false ID

  • Has injuries/signs of physical abuse (that they may be reluctant to explain)

  • Has inability or fear of social interaction

  • Carries hotel keys/ key cards

  • Inconsistencies when describing and recounting events

  • Unable or unwilling to give local address or information about parent(s)/guardian

  • Presence or fear of another person (often an older male or boyfriend who seems controlling)

  • Has a prepaid cell phone

  • Has an unexplained sudden increase in money, clothing or other goods

  • Has history of abuse and/or trauma

  • Is wearing clothing inappropriate for local climate


Want to help but don’t know where to start? Learn more or donate at Children of the Night

Children of the Night