Signs of Human Trafficking to Look Out for This Summer

human trafficking, meetings
A heat map of human trafficking activity across the world.

When you and your attendees are traveling this summer, keep alert for the following signs of human trafficking.

Here are signs that could indicate an individual is being trafficked, and what to do if you see an incidence of human trafficking:

What to look for

  1. Minimal luggage/clothing
  2. Lack of access to travel documents and money
  3. Victim seems disoriented and lost
  4. Victim lacks physical and verbal autonomy
  5. Lack of adequate language skills for foreign victims
  6. Trafficker is seen with many young children
  7. Trafficker insists on paying solely in cash
  8. Victim and trafficker have minimal interaction and eye contact with others, especially with staff
  9. No evidence of return ticket; may have tickets to multiple destinations
  10. Victim has indications of physical and emotional abuse
  11. Trafficker/victim seem anxious to arrive at destination

What to do

  • BE ALERT during large gatherings such as conventions or sporting games
  • DO NOT confront the child or adult
  • ALERT management, flight attendant, or airport security
  • NOTE the room/seat number, names, and description of individuals

Who to call

If it’s an emergency, dial 911. In a non-immediate situation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.

For more information about Human Trafficking and also training specifically for meeting planners, contact ECPAT USA (718) 935-9192.


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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.