Sex Trafficking Checklist

Promises of illegal jobs are a common ploy
Sex traffickers are often willing to pay for their victim to come visit them
Usually occurs when victim is travelling overseas
Help is available, even for illegal immigrants
Online dating is a fun and convenient way to meet new people and fall in love and thousands of people across the world are doing just that.

As part of our efforts to educate you about online dating safety we would like to discuss sex trafficking. While we have never personally heard of a sex trafficking case on any of our websites, we still think you should be aware of all the facts to stay safe online.


Sex trafficking is a type of human trafficking. Human trafficking is the trading of men, women and children for the purpose of servitude and forced labor. It is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. In sex trafficking, women (usually) are traded within and between countries for sex work. The women are usually deceived and lured into prostitution with a promise of a job or some other opportunity that sounds to good to be true.


Spotting a sex trafficker while you’re trying to find a special someone can be a hard ask but here are some signs to look out for:

  • Instant Love
    If he’s professing his undying love within a few days of knowing you, there’s more than one reason to think there might be something wrong here. The first step to trapping their potential victim is to get her emotionally involved. Therefore, it is always advisable to take the time to get to know other members on the site as someone you have only known for a few days is more likely to be a fraud than someone you have been chatting with for a few months.
  • Job Promises
    This is the most common bait sex traffickers use. They will usually promise you a job, tell you to come to a different country where you can work (often as a waitress), promise you big money and the like. But when you reach the other country, there’s no job waiting for you and most often these sex traffickers use the promise of a job to trick and coerce women into prostitution.
  • Willingness to Pay
    There are a number of men out there who are genuinely willing to sponsor their girlfriend to be able to visit them. While most men are legitimate, there are some who use this as a ploy and girls are often forced into prostitution and subsequently made to “pay off the debt”. Not everyone is trying to dupe you but if someone’s behavior is suspicious and they are over eager for you visit them, you should think twice. For example, if you have only been chatting with them for a few days and they are offering to pay for everything already, it could be dodgy. However, if you have known the other member for a long time and they are willing to pay for you, it is more likely to be genuine.The best thing to do would be to ask the man to visit you instead of you visiting him, as this is infinitely safer. Only someone who is genuinely interested in you is likely to make the effort to come and meet you. Also, since you will be in familiar territory it will be harder to deceive you and since it is your home town, you can easily call for help if there is any trouble.


As horrifying as sex trafficking is, there are some myths surrounding it too.

  • Only in Poor Countries
    That’s not true. While sex trafficking is definitely very prevalent in poorer Asian countries, it is very common in the USA, Canada and other developed nations too. One of the most common trafficking ploys is the trafficker offering the victim an illegal job to work as a waitress in the USA. Sadly, many fall for it and end up being forced into prostitution instead.
  • Illegal Immigrants Get No Help
    Very often, victims of trafficking continue to do what they’re doing because they’re afraid of the authorities finding out they’re illegal immigrants and being deported. So a Thai girl in Japan or even the Russian girl who goes to America do not want to report anything, even if they have a chance because they have been convinced by the traffickers that illegal immigrants get no help. This is not true. Trafficking is a crime and irrespective of your immigration status, most countries are willing to help the victims and get others out of the situation too. Please refer to the Resources listed below to see how you can get help.The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) includes provisions that allow victims of certain criminal activity to apply for legal immigration status in the United States:

    • U Visa: Victims of certain serious crimes, who have suffered substantial mental or physical harm as a result of criminal activity in the United States and who cooperate in the criminal investigation or prosecution of such crimes, are eligible to receive a U visa, and may eventually apply for legal permanent residency in the United States. The U visa is available to domestic violence victims who are not married to their abusers, or whose abusers are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents.
    • T Visa: Victims who have been subjected to severe forms of sex or labor trafficking and who cooperate in the criminal investigation or prosecution of such crimes are eligible to receive a T visa, and may eventually apply for legal permanent residency in the United States. To receive these immigration protections, an applicant must meet further specific eligibility requirements.

    For more information, please visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

  • It Can’t Happen to Me!
    The truth is it could really happen to almost anyone, in any part of the world. However, the key is to stay cautious and use your common sense when interacting with anyone online. If you are travelling overseas, make sure your family know all the details about who you’re going to meet and where you will be staying etc. For more tips on how to stay when travelling overseas, please see our Resources section.


Here are some quick tips to stay safe online:

  • Always keep your guard up and take the time to get to know another member before you make plans to meet them.
  • It is much safer if you ask him to visit you rather than you going to an unknown city or country.
  • If someone is offering you illegal jobs in their country or making other tall promises to you, don’t take the bait and report the member to the dating site’s administrators instead.
  • The USA has a public sex offender’s database where you can type in the name of the person you’re chatting with online to check if they have any history of sex offences. Check up the database before you think of visiting your online boyfriend and if the results are positive for sex crimes, you should probably cancel your plans and stop chatting with the person.
  • This database can also be especially helpful if you are moving to your boyfriend/fiancé’s country. If you’re moving to a different country and would still like information, the immigration department might be able to help you check up on any previous criminal and sexual offence records by referring to some of the databases listed below.


Not sure how to prepare for your trip overseas? Click here for more information.

For tips on ensuring your emotional safety, click here.

Don’t know what to look out for when chatting with someone online? These tips might help.

The Human Trafficking website is an excellent source of information about trafficking across the world.

The United States Department of Justice runs the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website(NSOPW) which is a database of all convicted sex offenders in USA as well as Puerto Rico. In addition, if you would like more information on a particular jurisdiction or state, click here.