Learn more about Trafficking in West Michigan

Trafficking in West MichiganIdentifying Victims  •  Interventions  •  Questions to Ask  •  Risk Factors

Identifying Victims

  • Being a runaway
  • Hotel room keys
  • Fake ID's and/or No ID
  • Stunted growth
  • Truancy
  • Substance Abuse
  • Lying about age
  • Poor Medical History
  • 'Dating' an older, controlling man
  • Multiple Pregnancies
  • STDs
  • Rotting teeth
  • Consistent need for pregnancy tests
  • Broken bones
  • Excessive money or jewelry
  • Multiple abortions
  • Branding
  • Fertility/Reproductive Health Issues
  • Tattooing (specifically of a trafficker's name)
  • Malnutrition

Questions to Ask

  • Can you leave your situation if you want?
  • Are there locks on your doors and windows to keep you from leaving?
  • Can you come and go as you please?
  • Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom?
  • Have you been threatened if you try to leave?
  • Have you been physically harmed in any way?
  • Is anyone forcing you to do anything that you do not want to do?
  • Where do you sleep and eat?
  • What do you do to have a roof over your head?
  • Have you ever been deprived of food, water, sleep or medical care?
  • Has your identification or documentation been taken away from you?

Risk Factors for West Michigan Youth

  • Prior Sexual Abuse (80% of trafficking victims have a history of sexual abuse)
  • Runaway/Throwaway Kids (1 in 3 runaways will be approached by a trafficker within 48 hours. There are over 2 million runaway/throwaway kids in America)
  • Transient Male Populations (conventioneers, military instillations, truckers, etc)
  • Existing Adult Prostitution/Sex Industry
  • Familial Traffickers (children are sold by their families in West Michigan for drug money, rent, and other factors)
  • Being LGBT (members of the LGBT make up a disproportionate amount of the homeless youth population)
  • Substance Abuse (West Michigan kids are escaping their trauma with drugs and alcohol but they are also controlled by traffickers with those same poisons.)
  • Poverty (poor communities are targeted by traffickers who offer kids new clothing, jewelry, and cash in an effort to sell their lie)