“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

You may be surprised to learn that human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States, and even right in Myrtle Beach – it’s far more common than you may realize. Human trafficking isn’t limited to foreigners being relocated to the US. In fact, a majority of the human trafficking victims in the US are from the US. Know the signs and learn how to spot a victim in plain sight. You may save a person’s life – or several lives.

Spotting a Victim of Human Trafficking
Many traffickers get away with their crimes because they operate in plain sight. Children, teenagers and women are particularly vulnerable. However, don’t rule out men. Men can be victims of human trafficking as well. Here are some key signs that a person may be a victim of trafficking:

* They avoid eye contact.
* They avoid speaking or only speak when “companion” gives permission. When they do speak, it often sounds empty and rehearsed.
* They seem paranoid or afraid.
* They are never left unattended or alone.
* They show signs of physical abuse such as bruising, scars or other wounds. They may attempt to hide these signs in public.
* They are never in control of money.
* They are not in possession of their own identification, rather their companion holds onto any identification paperwork.
* They believe they owe a large debt to someone.
* They are inconsistent with details or change their story frequently.
* They carry few, if any, personal possessions.
* They have a vague sense of time or suffer lapses in memory.
* They seem withdrawn or depressed.

Be alert in places that are transient in nature or are travel hubs. Hotels, highway rest stops, bus terminals, airports, train stations, motels and convenience stores are all places where you may be more likely to encounter a human trafficking victim. But no matter where you are, if you notice a person exhibiting a large number of the signs above, discreetly notify someone who can help. Avoid endangering yourself but if you have suspicions, speak up! If you see something, say something! Lives may depend on your voice.