BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery and it’s happening across the U.S., including in Maryland. Baltimore is considered a hub as it’s along the I-95 corridor which is used by traffickers to move victims across state lines easily.
Last year, the Polaris reported that there were 165 cases of human trafficking in the state.
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“I knew I was in Hell, but I didn’t know how to get out,” one victim told WJZ.
But how can you help victims and recognize the signs to report it?
Here are some red flags to look out for from the National Human Trafficking Hotline:
- The person is not free to come and go at their discretion.
- The person is under 18 and providing sex acts for payment.
- The person has a pimp or manager.
- The person doesn’t get breaks at work or are under unusual restrictions.
- The person is unpaid, paid very little or only paid through tips.
- High-security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
- The supervisor verbally or physically abuses the person.
People who are being trafficked often can be depressed, anxious or paranoid, especially around law enforcement. They may even show signs of substance abuse or addiction.
Victims may also have poor hygiene or are malnourished.
Trafficking victims also don’t normally have many possessions and move frequently. They may not know a lot about the city they are currently living in.
They often cannot speak for themselves and will have a third-party insist on being present during conversations.
Another sign is they lose track of time.
To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “help” to BeFree (233733).