Spotting the signs of human trafficking

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and there are some things you can learn to help save a life.

“Human trafficking continues to affect every corner of our state,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey. “It is important we take every opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and identify victims and perpetrators quickly. Human trafficking happens in all communities, rural and urban, and often in ways many of us would not suspect. I am proud of the work our health department and leaders across Tennessee State Government have done to combat this growing crisis.”

The Tennessee Department of Health says the signs that a person may be a victim of human trafficking includes:

  • Unable to leave or come and go as desired
  • Unpaid or paid very little or only through tips for their work
  • Excessively long and/or unusual work hours
  • Not allowed breaks or subjected to unusual restrictions at work
  • Few or no personal possessions and/or identification documents
  • Lack of control of their own money
  • Not allowed to speak for themselves
  • Numerous inconsistencies in their stories
  • Fear, anxiety, nervousness, depression, paranoia, submissive behaviors
  • Signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

The Tennessee Department of Health says that if you believe a person may be a victim, call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-558-6484 or text “BeFree” to 233722.

The news release from the department says the hotline had received 1,185 tips and leads through mid-December.

National Human Trafficking Day will be Jan. 11, and you can participate with the hashtag #WearBlueDayTN. You can learn more about the Blue Campaign here.

You can learn more about who is at risk, who the traffickers are, as well as additional signs of human trafficking here.

You can find more local news through the WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News app.

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