Human Trafficking and Exploitation


Report human trafficking

If you believe you are a victim and are in need of resources, or if you’ve seen a concerning interaction or know someone who could be in danger, call the Arizona Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-877-4-AZ-TIPS (1-877-373-7888). 

For immediate emergencies and victimization in progress, call 911 

Never intervene yourself.


Human trafficking involves force, fraud or coercion to obtain labor or commercial sex act from a person.

Labor trafficking is the exploitation of an individual for forced labor and work.

Sex trafficking is the exploitation of a person for the purpose of commercial sex. Anyone can be a victim. If the victim is under the age of 18, a request or demand for sex in exchange for something is considered sex trafficking. A minor cannot consent to commercial sex.  

Victims are often trafficked by someone they know, a family member or an intimate partner. That’s why knowing how to identify human trafficking is critical to prevent this heinous crime. 



Sex traffickers use grooming tactics, psychological manipulation, deception, physical violence, threats, blackmail, and/or sexual assault to get their victim to feel vulnerable, trapped and powerless. Their goal is to find a vulnerability and exploit it for their own financial gain. Often, traffickers act like they are in love with their victims, but it is really a form of abuse. They may make promises of a happier life, a brighter future and true love.

Targeting. Traffickers often target victims who have some noticeable vulnerability: emotional neediness, low self-confidence, or economic stress.

Gaining trust. Traffickers may obtain information about the victim to create a connection and trust.

Filling a void. Traffickers may use friendship, an intimate relationship, or providing basic needs such as housing or food, so that the victim becomes dependent on the trafficker.

Isolation. The trafficker will begin taking a major role in the victim’s life and attempt to distance them from their friends and family.

Abuse. The trafficker may claim that gifts or relationship must be repaid. In most cases, sex is the form of payment. The sex act may then be recorded to be used as blackmail.

Control. Threats, violence, fear or blackmail are tools for the trafficker to maintain control of the victim.



Indicators of human trafficking 

  • Signs of physical abuse  
  • Disconnected from friends/loved ones 
  • Talk of an older boyfriend/girlfriend 
  • New material items they cannot afford 
  • Signs of malnutrition 
  • Drug addiction  
  • Unusual tattoos / branding

The trafficker

  • Acts like a doting “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”
  • Gives gifts
  • Charms and flatters
  • Promises a happier life
  • Pays for needs
  • Abuses and intimidates for control
  • Uses violence and force
  • Uses threats and blackmail


Sex trafficking often occurs in plain sight. It can happen in our schools and parks. It can happen online and at shopping malls. It can happen almost anywhere. Common places sex traffickers may target or exploit their victims include: 

  • Online, including social media and gaming platforms 
  • Malls 
  • Schools 
  • Parks 
  • Bus depots/stops