National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) 1.888.373.7888
Or text HELP or INFO to
BeFree (233733)


How can I protect myself? Am I at risk? Sometimes there are people in your life who you believe are your “friends,” but really they do not have your best interests in mind. This website uses the word “friend” (with quotation marks) to indicate someone trying to manipulate you or who may be involved in trafficking. Take these three yes/no quizzes. Just Ask Yourself…

Quiz 1

1. Is your “friend” telling you things that are too good to be true?

2. Are you receiving strange friend requests on Facebook?

3. Are you receiving messages through text or Twitter asking you to meet someone you don’t know?

4. Does your “friend” try to keep you away from your family and other friends?

5. Is your “friend” several years older than you?

6.  Does your “friend” say some things are wrong when you actually know them to be true or right?

7. Does your “friend” say that some activities are okay even when you know they’re wrong?

8. Has your “friend” bought you expensive gifts for no reason?


1. You answered YES.

2. You answered YES.

3. You answered YES.

4. You answered YES.

5. You answered YES.

6. You answered YES.

7. You answered YES.

8. You answered YES.

If you say “yes” to 2 or 3, consider talking to an adult about that person or relationship.

Quiz 2

1. Has your “friend” told you to keep the relationship a secret?

2. Does your “friend” try to give you drugs or alcohol?

3. Does your “friend” try to get you to participate in illegal activities such as vandalism or theft?

4. Has your “friend” ever asked you to be sexually active with them or another person in exchange for money, clothes, or something else you wanted?

5. Does your “friend” say that these activities will lead to fulfilling your dreams?


1. You answered YES.

2. You answered YES.

3. You answered YES.

4. You answered YES.

5. You answered YES.

If you say “yes” to one or more of these questions, call the Polaris Hotline (1.888.373.7888) to discuss this relationship with their operator.

Quiz 3

1. Are you afraid to break up or end the relationship with your “friend” because you fear for your safety?

2. Has your “friend” threatened to hurt you or your family if you tell someone or try to leave?

3. Has your “friend” ever hit, kicked, shoved, burned or hurt you in any way?

4. Do you feel like you have no way out?


1. You answered YES.

2. You answered YES.

3. You answered YES.

4. You answered YES.

If the answer to any of these questions is YES then JUST ASK for help! Start by calling Polaris Project hotline (1.888.373.7888) or police tip line 703-246-4006.

What should I do if I think I am being targeted? Or trafficked?

  • Recognize that traffickers emotionally isolate their victims from friends and family.  
  • Recognize that you don’t have to live the stress of a double life anymore.
  • Tell someone.  Tell a parent or sibling, friend, teacher, counselor, school administrator, religious figure, or law enforcement.
  • Ask for help. No one deserves to be treated in this way or forced into these types of acts! 
  • Keep the number of someone who can help you disguised in your wallet, phone, or, if you are being watched, hidden in your underwear for emergencies.

What if I think my friend is a victim?

Just ask your friend…

  • Is everything ok?
  • Are you in trouble?
  • Is there anything about your “friend” that scares you?
  • Are you in danger?
  • Do you need help?
  • Encourage your friend to talk to an adult or to call the Polaris Project (1.888.373.7888), the Police Hotline (703.246.4006) or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).
  • Encourage your friend to have a safety plan to escape a bad situation.

Lend a listening ear

  • Tell your friend that you care.
  • Tell your friend that you are willing to listen. 
  • Give your friend time to share what’s bothering them.  Don’t force the issue, but be persistent.
  • Never blame your friend for what is happening.


Here’s a short script to give you ideas about how you can talk to your teenage friend about current involvement or about being at risk for recruitment into sex trafficking:

We’ve been friends for a long time and I’ll always be your friend, so don’t be afraid to tell me what is going on.  I’m worried about you.  You’ve been hanging out with someone much older than you, and it doesn’t seem like they really want what’s best for you.  I’m afraid they are hurting you.  I think he/she is using you.  I’m also afraid that you’re going to get into trouble if you keep hanging out with him/her.  I don’t want to see you get caught up in drugs, alcohol, illegal activities, or maybe even be sold for sex.  If you don’t want to tell your parents or even tell me, I get that, but you need to talk to someone.  There are lots of adults around, a teacher or school counselor, would be good people for you to talk to.  If you want, I’ll even go with you.  There are also hotlines that can help and you can call them as a first step at1.888.373.7888.  It’s not too late for you to change things in your life.  Just ask and I’m here to help.

Help your friend after an intervention and during recovery

  • Focus on helping your friend’s self-image. 
  • Give your friend emotional support.
  • Point out your friend’s strengths and skills. 
  • Help your friend envision a better, happier life. 
  • Emphasize that your friend deserves a life that is free from exploitation and violence.
  • Help your friend go from being a victim to being a survivor.
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