Rail police, conductors, ticket counter staff, and others encounter thousands of people on a daily basis,
positioning them to identify potential human trafficking victims. Human traffickers may be more likely to travel
with victims on railroads because identification from passengers is not required when traveling or purchasing a
ticket, offering anonymity.
While every situation is unique, and no single indicator can prove that human trafficking is occurring, you might
experience the following indicators during your workday.
Victims of human trafficking in rail transport settings may:
» Appear to have no control over or possession of their travel identification, money and/or other documents.
» Have difficulty articulating reasonable, logical travel plans or answering basic questions.
» Have their movement and/or social interaction restricted by a co-traveler.
» Seem to be under the influence and unaware of their surroundings.
» Be accompanied by a non-genuine parent/guardian.
» Appear to be deprived of food, water, sleep, basic hygiene, medical care, or other necessities.
» Act fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, nervous/paranoid, or dissociated/ “checked out.”
» Have bruises or other signs of physical abuse, restraint, and/or confinement.
» Have tattoos or scars that could indicate branding by a trafficker.
» Have scars, cut marks, burns, or other signs of self-harm/suicidal tendencies.
» Defer to another person to speak for them, appear to be coached on what to say, or their responses
» Appear to be traveling with few or no personal items, such as no purse or wallet.
» Exhibit evidence of verbal threats, emotional abuse, or being treated in a demeaning way.
» Seem to be with a noticeably older “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or romantic partner.
» Appear to be with a group of girls traveling with an older male or female.
» Dress inappropriately for their age, or in inaporopriate clothing for the weather.
» Reference someone in their group as being their “sugar daddy/sugar momma,” or refer to themselves as a
» Reference frequent travel to other cities or towns.
» Talk about getting paid very little or not at all for the work they do.
What to Do If You Suspect Human Trafficking
Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker or alert a victim to your suspicions. Follow your
organization’s reporting protocol or call 911 or local authorities if someone is in immediate danger.
You can report suspected human trafficking to: Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line (HSI) at
1-866-347-2423 or submit an HSI tip form online.
To get victim support, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.