If you suspect that someone may be involved in human trafficking, even if you’re not sure, the best option is always to report the activity and give the relevant authorities an opportunity to investigate.
When we see suspicious behavior or circumstances, and we say nothing, then we not only allow trafficking systems and operators to continue, but we also leave a vulnerable individual in a potentially dangerous situation.
Here are the best resources (along with when to use them) for you or someone you know to report a potential instance of human trafficking. Please note that, if someone is in immediate danger, do not use the resources below. Instead, call 911 right away.
To report possible human trafficking in Jacksonville, please call the non-emergency number for the Sheriff’s Office.
If someone in Jacksonville is not in immediate danger, but you suspect that they may be involved in a trafficking situation, then the best route is to start with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO)’s non-emergency number: 904-630-0500.
When you call, it is helpful to provide as much detail as you can, with information like any names you may know, license plates and other descriptions for vehicles, what people were wearing, your location, and anything you may have overheard. Officers will respond with the context you provide and further investigate the situation.
Outside of Jacksonville, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
You can make a report to the hotline entirely anonymously, so you can be sure that you’re safe making a report. Neither the trafficker nor the survivor will ever know you were the one who submitted the tip.
- Call 1-888-373-7888.
- Text “BeFree” to (233733).
- Chat via humantraffickinghotline.org/chat
- Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form.
To report possible child abuse in Florida, please contact the Florida Abuse Hotline.
The Florida Abuse Hotline is here to receive information about known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
You can call the hotline at: 1-800-96-ABUSE.
When to make a report
It can feel like a scary or weighty situation, if you’re considering making a report of suspected trafficking or abuse. We have compiled a few of the more common signs that someone may be involved in a trafficking situation, so you can validate your hunch and make an informed decision.
Signs of potential trafficking within a romantic relationship may include a partner who:
- Comes on strongly, expects someone to agree immediately to a relationship or employment, and threatens that there will not be another opportunity to make a commitment.
- Attempts to isolate someone from their friends, family, and social network.
- Denies another person financial control or demands access to their money.
- Asks someone to perform sexual acts or favors for friends or strangers.
- Responds to a lack of compliance with emotional, verbal, or physical abuse.
Someone may be involved in human trafficking or related abuse, if they:
- Have bruises in various stages of healing
- Show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care
- Are often in the company of someone who controls what they say, who they talk to, and what they do.
- Lack personal possessions and a stable living situation.
- Lack the apparent freedom to leave their living or working environments, or otherwise does not have the freedom of movement.
Human trafficking may be taking place if someone is:
- Involved in an asymmetric (involves a large gap in age or financial status) romantic relationship, wherein someone receives a lot of gifts or money.
- A runaway and often stays with a non-guardian.
- In a relationship that takes place almost entirely over social media.
- Open that they engaged in a commercial sex act that they did not want to perform.
- Working in an industry where it may be common to be pressured into performing sex acts for money, such as a strip club, illicit cantina, go-go bar, or illicit massage business.
- Living at their workplace.
Become a certified advocate for survivors
Whether you have a specific instance of potential trafficking to report, you’re a concerned citizen and neighbor who wants to be a more informed advocate for survivors, or you work in a profession that means you encounter potentially vulnerable people, we challenge you to become a certified advocate for survivors of human trafficking.
Through a one-hour, free training, from the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking, you can learn more about the possible signs of trafficking and how to report suspicious activity.
Your certification will show not only your employer or colleagues but also your community, that you are committed to being a part of giving survivors a new beginning.
Register now and complete the training to become certified today.