Select a language:

Human Trafficking in Our Community: Know the Signs

Human Trafficking image

In recognition of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the OC Sheriff’s Department encourages the community to learn the signs of human trafficking and how to report it.

Human Trafficking is a crime that uses force, coercion or fraud to compel a victim to provide labor services or engage in commercial sex. Traffickers may use fear or intimidation, or the promise of security and safety, in an attempt to control their victims.  

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has dedicated resources to fight human trafficking in Orange County, including specialized investigations teams that conduct operations to help victims of exploitation and hold their traffickers accountable. In 2022, investigators arrested 32 suspects on human trafficking-related charges and rescued 10 juvenile victims.

In addition to investigations, the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC), the county’s multi-agency fusion center, collects and analyzes human trafficking information to assist with investigations across the county.

The community also plays an integral role in helping us fight human trafficking. Here is what you need to know and how you can help:


  • Young victims are often groomed online through social media and gaming applications, especially those with direct messaging or voice messaging functions.
  • Talk to your children early and often about the dangers of engaging with strangers online. Make sure they know never to accept messages or chat with someone they don’t know.
  • Consider adding security measures to limit the access your children have to online applications.
  • Routinely monitor their online activity and check for any concerning behavior.


  • Trafficking victims may start dressing or behaving differently. They may also have unexplained items or cash.
  • Victims also may have new tattoos and although not a guaranteed indicator of human trafficking, imagery including dollar signs, diamonds, a crow or a barcode can be indicative of human trafficking.
  • Sometimes trafficked victims are fearful of law enforcement or government officials and may have trouble making eye contact.
  • Victims also may have untreated injuries.


  • Never directly approach an individual believed to be a victim of human trafficking. This is not only for your safety, but the safety of the person being trafficked.
  • Contact law enforcement immediately if you suspect human trafficking activity.
    • Report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888
    • Text a tip to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at by texting “help” or “info” to 233733.
    • Online tips can be submitted directly to OCIAC at