Could You Spot Human Trafficking in Transit?

Human trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people through control or coercion for the purpose of exploitation.

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Could you spot human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people through methods of control or coercion for the purpose of exploitation for profit.

Transport hubs, haulage routes and freight vehicles are being used to traffick people in and out of the UK, so when you’re on the road it is important to be aware of the signs to look out for.

Learning to spot the signs is the first step to tackling human trafficking, and it could be the difference needed to save someone’s life. Here are some things to look out for:

  • People emerging from a lorry or HGV, especially suddenly or as if in a rush not to be seen, or heading towards, or going inside of the back of a lorry. People being dropped off in spaces of transit and getting into other vehicles. 
  • Hearing banging from the inside of a lorry – always call 999, especially if the lorry is refrigerated. 
  • If anything about the vehicle doesn’t seem quite right – for example if produce is being thrown from it, something is being done to catch the attention of other motorists, or it is parked away from designated areas or watched suspiciously.   
  • People who are inappropriately dressed with makeup that could be covering bruises or are dishevelled in dirty or poorly fitting clothes with a low level of personal hygiene. 
  • A person appearing to be waiting on someone to pick them up, especially if they look uncomfortable or out of place, is also a red flag. Standing around a car park shouldn’t be immediately deemed suspicious, but if they are visibly nervous, injured, or don’t know who’s picking them up or where they’re going, something is wrong. 

If you have suspicions that you want to report, then there are a few key things you should consider. 

Think about your safety first:

Be mindful of road danger and do not approach the scene. Stand away and try not to be seen by suspects or victims and report from a safe distance. Reports from a first witness are the most important and most valuable to the police, giving them an accurate commentary of the incident. 

Remember it could be a crime scene:

Attempting to rescue someone or to intervene may impact valuable evidence and cause risk or injury to yourself and to others.

When observing a suspicious incident, you should make detailed notes of the following things for your report: 

Location: GPS co-ordinates, road names, nearby towns or villages. 

Vehicle Information: Number plates, colour of vehicle and container, company name. 

Suspect and Victim Descriptions: Age, gender, ethnicity, height, clothing etc. 

Movement: Which way were they going? Were they on foot or in a vehicle? 

Photos or Video: Capture evidence of the above without being seen if you can. 


if you see something that doesn’t look right it is important that you report your suspicions. If you think that someone is in immediate danger, then call 999.

If you would like to anonymously report a suspicion, then you can submit a report to the STOP APP.

This report will be escalated to the appropriate authorities and/or services and will feed into an ever-growing picture of trafficking trends, hotspots, and incidents to help us understand and prevent human trafficking and modern slavery. 

To anonymously report a crime: 
Crimestoppers | 0800 555 111 

You can download the STOP APP for free on iOS or Android in the app store to report suspicions. Find out more about the STOP APP in the banner below.



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