Red Flags of Sexual Exploitation


  • Works in the commercial sex industry
  • Has a pimp or a manager
  • Has evidence of frequent STDs, pregnancies, or high number of sexual partners at a young age
  • Has bruises and evidence of physical trauma
  • Possesses unexplained goods or luxury items
  • Wears extreme attire inappropriate for the weather
  • Avoids eye contact or has a flat affect
  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money
  • Has been “branded” (e.g. tattooed)
  • Frequently runs away, is truant, or homeless
  • Has an older boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Shows evidence of substance abuse
  • Appears fearful or paranoid
  • Is supervised by a watchful male or group of males


*These are only a few indicators of sexual exploitation.  Presence of the above indicators does not necessarily imply a trafficking situation.  Red flags are intended to be used only as a guide in the context of all information presented.


Source: “Choose You” campaign material produced by the Westchester County DSS Safe Harbour Team and The Children’s Village Safe Harbour Program.