Sense it. Spot it.

Signs Around Children

Count the signs. If you see one or more of these signs at a property consider making a referral to the appropriate organisation. Alongside these specific signs can you identify any signs that suggest movement, recruitment, deception, coercion or exploitation?

Child trafficking is child abuse. During the process of trafficking, children suffer from neglect, emotional abuse and physical and sexual abuse. A safeguarding response from professionals is required.

Children are trafficked into every scenario of trafficking that this online tool covers. They may also be trafficked for other forms of exploitation including forced marriage.

  • Witness it

  • Question it

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Does the child have a passport or genuine documentation that has been properly obtained? Missing, altered or false documentation is common. The child may claim that their details on the documentation are incorrect.


Does the child have money, expensive clothes, mobile phones or other possessions without plausible explanation?


Are there any signs of physical neglect? This may be basic care, malnourishment, lack of attention to health needs and possibly physical symptoms of exploitative abuse.


Is the child cared for or accompanied by an adult who may not be the legal guardian? They may insist on remaining with the child at all times.


Do they show physical indications of working? They might be overly tired in school or have backaches and worked hands from doing manual labour.


Are there adults loitering outside the child's usual place of residence or does the child have a significantly older boyfriend?


Is the guardian of the child not an appropriate adult? Not an immediate family member (parent / sibling) and cannot provide photographic ID for the child.


Does the child seem to be withdrawn and refuse to talk? They might be afraid to talk with people who have authority.


Can you see any evidence of drug, alcohol or substance misuse?


Is the child socially isolated with a lack of positive, meaningful relationships in their life? The quality of relationships they do have may not be good.

Fear & Anxiety

Does the child harbour excessive fears or anxieties? This may be about an individual, deportation or disclosing information.


If the child works, are they deprived of earnings? They may be in debt bondage or 'owe' money for travel costs to another person.


Does the child show any indications of psychological trauma or numbing?


Is there any evidence to suggest the child's journey or visa has been arranged by someone other than themselves or a family member?


Does the child claim to have been exploited through sexual exploitation, criminality, labour exploitation, domestic servitude, forced marriage, illegal adoption or drug dealing by another person?


Is the child among a number of unrelated children found at one address?


Is the child's story very similar to those given by others? This may be an indication that they have been coached.


Can the child confirm the name or address of the person they are meeting on arrival in the UK?

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If a child or adult is in immediate danger call 999.

  • Police

    Share what you have identified with your local police force.

  • Victim Support

    Support, advice and services available for potential adult trafficking cases.

  • Children's Services

    Advice and information on what to do and who to contact when a case involves a child.

  • Immigration Support

    Advice for cases where the potential victim may need immigration support.

  • The Police

    If the person's life is in immediate danger then you should call the police straight away.

    Phone: 999


    Local Police

    If the potential victim is in a situation that needs intervention then you should call your local police.

    Calls to 101 are a fixed rate of 15p per call, you will be redirected to the relevant place.

    Phone: 101

    Metropolitan Police

    The metropolitan police have a 24hour helpline for Victims and those who suspect trafficked victims are living in their community.

    Phone: 0800 783 25 89



    Call Crimestoppers if you would like to make an anonymous report of any information you have surrounding human trafficking.

    Phone: 0800 555 111


    Salvation Army

    The Salvation Army is responsible for delivering the UK government's contract to manage support services for adult female and male victims of Human Trafficking. Their confidential referral helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Phone: 0300 303 81 51



    Migrant Help

    Migrant Help is responsible for support services for adult female and male victims of Human Trafficking. For cases in Scotland and NI they are a primary contact. Available 24 hours a day. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 01304 203 977 or 07766 668 781




    The Scottish Government provides funding to TARA (the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) to provide support to women, over 18 yrs, trafficked (or potentially trafficked) for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, recovered across Scotland.

    Phone: 0141 276 77 24

    POPPY Project

    The Poppy Project provides support, advocacy and accommodation to trafficked women. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 020 7735 2062 (ask for the POPPY Project duty worker)




    Provide advice, advocacy and support services in the UK for migrant domestic workers. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 0207 243 2942



    Medaille Trust

    Help women, young men and children who have been freed from human-trafficking. They provide safe housing and offer opportunities for physical and psychological healing and rehabilitation. They are a first responder for the NRM.



    Unseen UK

    Unseen runs secure accommodation for women of 18 years and over who are classified as survivors/victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. They are a first responder for the NRM.




    NSPCC National Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) provides information and advice to any professional working with children or young people who may have been trafficked into the UK. Available Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 0808 800 5000



    Children's Services

    Your Local Authority's Children's Services are responsible for all cases that involve children.

    Your Local Authority has a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in need in your area, regardless of their immigration status. They have responsibilities for unaccompanied children, as well as those who arrive in the UK with their parents and about whose safety and welfare there are concerns.

    If you feel your local Children's Services would benefit from advice on how to respond to child trafficking cases recommend they contact NSPCC CTAC or ECPAT.




    End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) research, campaign and lobby government to prevent child exploitation and protect children in tourism and child victims of trafficking. They provide training on safeguarding children from trafficking.

    Read this page on their website which provides guidance for professionals working with children who may have been trafficked.


    Phone: 0207 233 9887



    Anti Trafficking Legal Project

    ATLeP is a network of solicitors, barristers and specialist practitioners who advise, represent and support victims of trafficking and other vulnerable people.



    AIRE Centre

    The AIRE Centre promotes awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights.

    Phone: 0207 831 4276



    Migrant's Rights Network

    Organisation working and campaigning in support of migrants in the UK.

    Phone: 0207 336 9412