C. Risk Factors and Indicators

Children and youth who run away or experience foster care are at a higher risk of commercial sexual exploitation.[57] According to the Office of the Texas Attorney General, potential indicators, or red flags, that a child may be a trafficking victim include:

•   Changes in school attendance habits, appearance, socio-economics, friend groups, interests, school activities, vocabulary, demeanor, attitude, and sexual behavior;

•   Luxury items (e.g. manicures, designer clothing, purses, etc.) without an explainable source of income;

•   Truancy;

•   Getting into trouble in the company of older teens or adults;

•   Sexually provocative clothing;

•   Tattoos, especially of another person’s name;

•   Hotel key cards;

•   Refillable gift cards;

•   Multiple phone or social media accounts;

•   Lying about the existence of social media accounts or refusing caregiver access to those accounts;

•   Sexually provocative pictures on the phone or online accounts;

•   Unexplained injuries: bruising, swelling, redness, cigarette burns;

•   Claim of an older boyfriend/girlfriend;

•   Lack of identification; and

•   Multiple runaways from home in a short period of time.[58]

Special Issue: The availability of the internet means trafficking can happen anywhere. Traffickers often use the web to recruit and exploit child victims. Teaching youth in foster care about internet safety is a critical part of any effort to prevent and address human trafficking.