National Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 Or text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733

Resources for Parents & Teachers

Signs & How to Respond

These are the signs of child molestation and sex trafficking that parents, guardians, grandparents, and educators should all be aware of.

Possible Signs of Child Molestation

The younger the child, the more difficult it is to determine if your child has been or is being molested. Parents, grandparents, and guardians should be aware of these signs that could indicate your child has been sexually molested:

  • Changes in behavior, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness & excessive crying
  • Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed, or other sleep disturbances
  • Acting out inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters
  • A sudden acting out of feelings or aggressive or rebellious behavior
  • Regression to infantile behavior; clinging
  • School or behavioral problems
  • Changes in toilet-training habits
  • A fear of certain places, people, or activities
  • Bruises, rashes, cuts, limping, multiple or poorly explained injuries
  • Pain, itching, bleeding, fluid, or rawness in the private areas

If you observe any of these behaviors, talk to your child about the causes.

Possible Behavioral Indicators of a Child Sex Trafficking Victim

Behavioral changes may be due to causes other than sexual exploitation such as a medical, family, or school problem. Please note, some of these behaviors may have other explanations, but it’s important to assist your child no matter what the cause of these symptoms or behaviors.

  • An inability to attend school regularly and/or unexplained absences
  • Frequently running away from home
  • References made to frequent travel to other cities
  • Bruises or other signs of physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression, anxiety, or fear
  • Lack of control over a personal schedule and/or identification or travel documents
  • Hunger, malnourishment, or inappropriate dress (based on weather conditions or surroundings)
  • Signs of drug addiction
  • Coached or rehearsed responses to questions
  • A sudden change in attire, behavior, relationships, or material possessions (e.g., expensive items)
  • Uncharacteristic promiscuity and/or references to sexual situations or terminology beyond age-specific norms
  • A “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” who is noticeably older and/or controlling
  • An attempt to conceal scars, tattoos, or bruises
  • A sudden change in attention to personal hygiene
  • Tattoos (a form of branding) displaying the name or moniker of a trafficker, such as “daddy”
  • Hyperarousal or symptoms of anger, panic, phobia, irritability, hyperactivity, frequent crying, temper tantrums, regressive behavior, and/or clinging behavior
  • Hypo arousal or symptoms of daydreaming, inability to bond with others, inattention, forgetfulness, and/or shyness

What Is Sex Trafficking?

What To Do If You Detect These Behaviors

The signs above can be caused by other things and, even if no signs are present, abuse may be happening. If you suspect abuse or sex trafficking, take action to verify your suspicions. Investigate with your child, the child’s friends, teachers, friend’s parents, etc.

Stay In-the-Know!


Recommendation Resources

Should we educate our children? Are they too young? Well one of the most respected world leaders in crimes against children says, yes, we should. “Prevention education is the most useful, effective kind of orientation that we have to this problem,” Dr. David Finkerhor.

I’ve Got Super Power Guide

I’ve Got Superpower was an early commissioned project in singer, songwriter, and performer Rick Charette’s long career of writing and performing for children. A collaboration between an educational publishing company, a mental health professional, and a children’s songwriter, this collection of songs and its parent/teacher guide has stood the test of time.

Undeletable Conference

In October 2022, we hosted a 2-day conference to help teachers and parents understand how online activity impacts kids’ safety on and off the screen. We filmed this free conference, so parents can continue to learn this critical knowledge and useful strategies.