Human Trafficking & Exploitation

Humanitarian Protection

EU Exit


Hong Kong Welcome Hub

Scotland's Demographics

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

Gypsy/Traveller Work

Indicators of Human Trafficking and Exploitation

Human Trafficking and Exploitation can happen everywhere, so look for the signs. This list is not exhaustive and not all indicators will be present in all situations. 

General indicators 

  • Passport or documents held by someone else. 
  • Others speaking for people you are talking to. 
  • Expression of fear, anxiety or hypervigilance.
  • The person is withdrawn or submissive 
  • Excessive working hours. 
  • Highly distrustful of law enforcement or authorities. 
  • Person has false documents. 
  • Found in/connected to a location likely to be used for exploitation. 
  • Not knowing the address of where they work or live. 
  • Poor or substandard living accommodation. 
  • Injuries apparently as a result of an assault.
  • Injuries apparently from restraint measures.
  • Lack of access to earnings. 
  • Any evidence of control over movement, either as an individual or a group. 
  • The person acts as if instructed by another. 
  • Afraid of saying what their immigration status is.
  •  Their appearance suggests general physical neglect.
  •  They appear to be moving location frequently. 
  • They are not registered with a GP, nursery or school. 
  • They have old or serious injuries left untreated or treated late and are vague and reluctant to explain how the injury occurred. 
  • They give a vague and inconsistent explanation of where they live, their work or schooling. 

Potential signs of sexual exploitation 

  • Occupants are rarely seen outside. 
  • Occupants of premises change regularly. 
  • Male callers day and night, staying for only a short time.
  •  Sexual debris such as condoms, call cards, advertisements. 
  • Potential signs of forced labour 
  • Large number of individuals living in the same address. 
  • Occupants change regularly. 
  • Van transporting people at unusual times of the day and/or night. 
  • Workers movements are monitored and/or controlled by others. 
  • Workers may seem fearful of employers, police or any other external agency and poorly integrate with the wider community. 
  • Employers, or someone else, is holding their passport and/or legal documents.
  • Workers have no days off or holiday time. 
  • Workers display signs of physical abuse i.e. bruises, cuts and signs of untreated medical problems. 
  • Workers display signs of malnutrition, dehydration, exhaustion and poor personal hygiene. 

Potential signs of domestic servitude 

  • The person is rarely allowed out of the house, unless their employer or guardian is with them. 
  • They have no private space or a proper place to sleep, e.g. on the floor or sofa. 
  • They have a poor diet or are given the family’s leftover food to eat. 
  • They are subject to mental, physical, sexual abuse, threats or other cruelty.
  •  A child may have poor attendance at school, no access to education, and no time to play with their peers.
  •  There is no interaction with the family, friends or other authorities. 
  • Multiple female foreign nationals living at the same address.