Be Aware: You May Be the Lifeline to a Human Trafficking Victim in Need of Help

Human Trafficking Example of a young girl and a contorlling older male riding the bus.

SunLine Transit Agency has launched a Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign to educate the public about the signs of human trafficking and how to report a suspicious situation.

Human trafficking is the force, fear and coercion to compel another person into commercial sex acts or labor trafficking against their will.

Some human traffickers use the bus to transport their victims. You can play a critical role in fighting this crime, and you could be just the lifeline a human trafficking victim is hoping will recognize the situation they are in. Be a disruptive force in human trafficking routes of those being coerced into labor or sex trafficking.

Sex Trafficking

Red Flag Indicators:

  • Average age of victim is 15 years old
  • Higher Risk: Homeless, runaway youth, LGBT+, person facing addiction or the vulnerable
  • No stereotype – all walks of life

High Risk Victim Commonalities:

  • Runaways or truants
  • Past sexual and/or physical abuse
  • Drugs and/or alcohol abuse
  • Need for love & acceptance
  • Exploitation starts as a minor

Recognizing the Signs:

  • Those looking disheveled, scared, anxious or in the company of someone else who appears controlling
  • Individuals with someone who tells them not to speak
  • Those who have their IDs and money held by someone else
  • Individuals who may not know the exact place they are going
  • A regular rider who may have a change in behavior

High Risk Victim Indicators:

  • Unexplained wealth
  • Multiple cellphones
  • Criminal history
  • Tattoos that may be a pimp’s moniker or symbol
  • Victims often use terms like “Daddy” or “Papi” – or refer to their controller as their boyfriend

If you witness a situation that seems like it may be an instance of sex trafficking, report it by calling 1-888-373-7888, texting BeFree to 233733 or going to by “live chat” at

Labor Trafficking

Labor trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel a person to work against their will with a degree of financial and personal control used by traffickers in situations of labor trafficking.

Traffickers prey on vulnerable people. In the United States, recent immigrants are particularly vulnerable to labor trafficking because of the ease with which traffickers can control them through threats of deportation. 

The second most common vulnerability to labor trafficking is having some kind of disability including, but not limited to, mental and physical health concerns and substance use issues. Exploiters defraud people struggling with these conditions with promises of good jobs or safe places to live, or threaten them with further losses of freedom and rights if they try to change their situation.

Someone might be in a labor trafficking or exploitation situation if you learn they:

  • Feel pressured by their employer to stay in a job or situation they want to leave
  • Owe money to an employer or recruiter and/or not being paid what they were promised or are owed
  • Do not have control of their passport or other identity documents
  • Are living and working in isolated conditions, largely cut off from interaction with others or support systems
  • Appear to be monitored by another person when talking or interacting with others
  • Are living in dangerous, overcrowded or inhumane conditions provided by an employer
  • Are being threatened by their boss with deportation or other harm
  • Are working in dangerous conditions, without proper safety gear, training, adequate breaks and other protections

If you know of someone who appears to be in a situation where they are being exploited for labor trafficking, report it by calling 1-888-373-7888, texting BeFree to 233733 or going to by “live chat” at

About the Coachella Valley Coalition Against Human Trafficking

SunLine Transit Agency has partnered with the Coachella Valley Coalition Against Human Trafficking for this campaign. The Coalition conducted training for SunLine Operators to recognize the signs of human trafficking and learn how to report a suspicious situation. The Coalition is a regional resource that was recently formed to help stop human trafficking in our communities.


The Coachella Valley Coalition Against Human Trafficking facilitates the collaboration of organizations within the desert communities by constructing a united response to human trafficking within Eastern Riverside County.

The Coalition aims to approach these issues within a multi-disciplinary approach of committed partners to provide consistent best practices in the fight against human trafficking in the greater Coachella Valley.

The United States ranks as one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking.  The Coachella Valley is home to a farming and agricultural community, a national freeway corridor, and a tourism industry.

The Coalition will emphasize on local and international human trafficking, which includes sexual exploitation, sex slavery, forced labor, and domestic servitude through awareness, education, service, and advocacy efforts.  


The Coachella Valley Coalition Against Human Trafficking purpose is:

  • To promote public awareness to our community by way of education to individuals, student organizations, social and philanthropic clubs, faith-based organizations, medical providers, and key industries of the existence indicators, as well as reporting of suspected of human trafficking within the Coachella Valley.
  • To construct a multi-disciplinary Coalition model for government and non-profit organizations with the belief that we can service these injustices better together.  


The Coachella Valley Coalition Against Human Trafficking will identify community partners in good standing to share its mission and purpose. There are many key industries within the community including (but not limited too) foster agencies, group homes, offices of education, school districts,  student organizations, social and philanthropic clubs, medical providers, faith-based organizations, non-profit agencies, service providers (shelters, rape crisis, homeless shelters), legal services providers, trucking companies, licensed therapists, counseling services, government administrative leaders and government agencies (agriculture, code enforcement, ABC, Department of Labor, animal control, transportation, public housing, fire departments and law enforcement). 

For more information about the Coalition, please reach out to the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, 760-340-2336 or contact via email on the website: To report any suspicious situation that seems like it may be an instance of human trafficking, calling 1-888-373-7888, texting BeFree to 233733 or going to by “live chat” at