Human Trafficking

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Identify and Assist a Trafficking Victim


Human trafficking – a modern form of slavery involving the exploitation of a person for involuntary labor, services, debt bondage, or commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion; or in which the person induced to perform such acts has not yet attained 18 years of age.

Human trafficking victim – a person who is exploited under fraudulent pretenses, forced, or coerced into labor, services, debt bondage, or commercial sex.

Trafficker – a person who is exploiting a victim for labor, services, or commercial sex.

Victim-centered approach – a response to a suspected human trafficking event that considers the wants, needs, and wellbeing of the suspected victim in each step of the response.

Everyone has the potential to discover a human trafficking situation. While the victims may sometimes be kept behind locked doors, they are often hidden right in front of us at, for example, construction sites, restaurants, elder care centers, nail salons, agricultural fields, and hotels. Traffickers’ use of coercion – such as threats of deportation and harm to the victim or their family members – is so powerful that even if you reach out to victims, they may be too fearful to accept your help. Knowing indicators of human trafficking and some follow up questions will help you act on your gut feeling that something is wrong and report it.

Human Trafficking Indicators

While not an exhaustive list, these are some key red flags that could alert you to a potential trafficking situation that should be reported:

  • Living with employer
  • Poor living conditions
  • Multiple people in cramped space
  • Inability to speak to individual alone
  • Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
  • Employer is holding identity documents
  • Signs of physical abuse
  • Submissive or fearful
  • Unpaid or paid very little
  • Under 18 and in prostitution


Human Trafficking Resources

Questions to Ask

Assuming you have the opportunity to speak with a potential victim privately and without jeopardizing the victim’s safety because the trafficker is watching, here are some sample questions to ask to follow up on the red flags you became alert to:

  • Can you leave your job if you want to?
  • Can you come and go as you please?
  • Have you been hurt or threatened if you tried to leave?
  • Has your family been threatened?
  • Do you live with your employer?
  • Where do you sleep and eat?
  • Are you in debt to your employer?
  • Do you have your passport/identification? Who has it?
Where to Get Help

If you believe you have identified someone still in the trafficking situation, alert law enforcement immediately at the numbers provided below. It may be unsafe to attempt to rescue a trafficking victim. You have no way of knowing how the trafficker may react and retaliate against the victim and you. If, however, you identify a victim who has escaped the trafficking situation, there are a number of organizations to whom the victim could be referred for help with shelter, medical care, legal assistance, and other critical services. In this case, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline described below.

911 Emergency

For urgent situations, notify local law enforcement immediately by calling 911. You may also want to alert the National Human Trafficking Hotline described below so that they can ensure response by law enforcement officials knowledgeable about human trafficking.

1-888-373-7888 National Human Trafficking Hotline

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a national 24-hour, toll-free, multilingual anti-trafficking hotline. Call 1-888-373-7888 to report a tip; connect with anti-trafficking services in your area; or request training and technical assistance, general information, or specific anti-trafficking resources. The Hotline is equipped to handle calls from all regions of the United States from a wide range of callers including, but not limited to: potential trafficking victims, community members, law enforcement, medical professionals, legal professionals, service providers, researchers, students, and policymakers.

Missouri Resources

The following are the Law Enforcement Points of Contact for the Eastern District of Missouri’s Human Trafficking Taskforce and St. Louis County. Missouri Human Trafficking Task Forces are multi-disciplinary professionals including law enforcement and social and legal service agencies working together on human trafficking issues and cases. Their mission is to prevent and respond to human trafficking in Missouri through seamless collaboration between law enforcement, service providers, and community members.

Eastern District of MO Human Trafficking Task Force

Lead Contact: Det. Sgt. Brian Shanika

Area of responsibility that spans the Eastern District of Missouri, including 49 counties.

Eastern Division: Crawford, Dent, Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Lincoln, Maries, Phelps, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Warren, and Washington.

Northern Division:  Adair, Audrain, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, and Shelby.

Southern Division: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, Shannon, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, and Wayne.


Detective Sergeant Brian Shanika

St. Louis County Police, Division of Criminal Investigation, Special Investigations Unit

  • Office: 314-615-8618
  • Cell: 314-792-3172


Greater Kansas City Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking Task Force

Lead Contacts:
FBI SSA Nathan Kim
KCPD Vice Sgt. Brad Dumit 

Area of responsibility that spans the Western District of Missouri and across the entire District of Kansas, various counties identified below. The group is composed of investigators from Kansas City Missouri Police Department (PD), Gladstone PD, Overland Park PD, Olathe PD, and FBI personnel.

Western Division: Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Bates, Benton, Boone, Buchanan, Caldwell, Callaway, Carroll, Cass, Chariton, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Holt, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Nodaway, Pettis, Platte, Putnam, Randolph, Ray, Saline, Schuyler, Sullivan, Vernon, and Worth

FBI SSA Nathan Kim

  • 201-306-8167
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KCPD Vice Sgt. Brad Dumit

  • 816-225-0046


Derrick Wilczek

Vice Detective – FBI Task Force Officer
Overland Park Police Department, City of Overland Park

  • Work: 913-344-8747
  • Mobile: 913-291-9000


Missouri State Highway Patrol/IPC (Interdiction for the Protection of Children)

Federal Resources

Call federal law enforcement directly to report suspected human trafficking activity and get help:

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, or submit a tip online at . Individuals across the world can report suspicious criminal activity to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line. The Tip Line is accessible internationally by calling 1-802-872-6199. Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by ICE HSI, including those related to human trafficking.
  • You may also submit a tip online to the FBI at , or call your local FBI office (you can get their number at .
  • The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) investigates visa and passport fraud. Human trafficking often include visa fraud. As a result, DSS works with its U.S. and international law enforcement partners to investigate these crimes. Additionally, DSS leads on the investigation of trafficking cases when they involve diplomats. To submit a tip, please email


Call the following federal government lines for other assistance:

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) for cases where labor exploitation may be present but does not rise to the threshold of trafficking.
  • U.S. Department of Labor OIG Hotline at 1-202-693-6999 or 1-800-347-3756,, or  24 hours a day, 7 days a week to report allegations of trafficking committed through fraud in DOL programs, including, but not limited to, the H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and PERM. When filing an OIG Hotline complaint, it is not necessary to provide names or any other identifying information.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 1-800-669-4000 from 7:00am to 8:00pm (EST) for information about how workers, including trafficking victims, can file a charge of employment discrimination.


Report suspected child prostitution activity to the CyberTipline:

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, at 1-800-THE-LOST or , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Congressionally-authorized CyberTipline is operated by a nongovernmental organization and provides a means for reporting crimes against children and is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Educational Resources and Support Services
Human Trafficking Taskforce

The Human Trafficking Task Force of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office is designed and structured with an emphasis on law enforcement, so that we are creating an environment in which law enforcement can identify, respond to and investigate human trafficking cases with maximum impact. We believe that law enforcement is at the center of what is needed to address and eradicate human trafficking in Missouri, but cannot do it alone. In order to be successful, we strive to have:

  • A supportive network of service providers available to assist victims
  • Coordination and utilization of data, research and intelligence
  • Courts that are trained and equipped with laws strong enough to ensure convictions
  • Training for victim identification available in key sectors like schools, hospitals and the transportation sector
  • A functional and efficient reporting system (hotline)
  • An active and robust community that is working to prevent human trafficking through addressing vulnerabilities and stopping demand for forced labor and commercial sex

Our Human Trafficking Task Force is structured and set up to:

  • Ensure that we are serving the entire state across both urban and rural areas with efficiency and consistent quality
  • Provide a holistic and comprehensive response through coordination of services, trainings, intelligence sharing and more
  • Engage multiple agencies in a multi-disciplinary, coordinated strategy rather than a traditional model with everyone operating in a silo
  • Maximize resources

Members of the Human Trafficking Task Force