The FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) contains over 89,000 active missing persons cases (as of May 2018). That’s over 89,000 families who are left with a gaping hole in their lives and in their households—missing fathers who taught their children to ride bikes and were never too busy to help out with a science project—mothers who made PB&J sandwiches just right, and never forgot to leave the hall light on. Most notably, many families are left without half of their household income when a parent or guardian goes missing. The missing person may have set up a life insurance policy to ensure their families would be cared for in the event of their death, but stymied law enforcement have recovered no remains, so the insurance company refuses to pay out. The family is left without any soil to begin filling the hole where the missing loved one once stood.
The emotional roller coaster that ensues when a loved one goes missing is fraught with fear, confusion, and desperation for answers. Every waking moment, you wring your hands, hoping the loved one is safe and simply unable to communicate for rational reasons. Days go by—you cooperate with investigators and give them all the available information you have on the missing person. Weeks pass, but life goes on, even amidst a tragedy. When you consider the financial ramifications of picking up after a partner or spouse vanishes, the numbers are discouraging. A 2012 report by Legal Momentum determined the median income for two-parent families was $89,455. The median income for a single mother household was $25,493, while a single father’s income is $36,471. Those single parent incomes account for 31% and 40% of the two-parent income, respectively. How is a single parent suddenly supposed to take care of their family when nearly half their household income evaporates following the disappearance of their partner or spouse?
In the days or weeks following the death of a parent or loved one, the beneficiary of their life insurance policy will contact the company and submit a death certificate to prove the owner of the policy is deceased. In the case of a missing person, there is no death certificate without first coordinating what is called a “presumption of death.” The Indian Evidence Act, Section 108 states presumptions of death can only be made when a person has been missing for at least seven years from the date of the initial missing persons report. This is known as the First Information Report (FIR). After the mandatory period has passed, the beneficiary may receive the claim.
In addition to the too-familiar scenarios normally surrounding missing persons—people who run away, people who are abducted, people who fall off of cruise ships or disappear from trails in national parks, etc.—other events that often fall under this legislation are missing persons who vanish during the calamity of natural disasters, such as tornadoes or hurricanes. After the flood that devastated Uttarakhand in 2013, P Chidabaram, the Finance Minister of India, asked the country’s largest life insurance provider, Life Insurance Corporation of India, to waive the traditional seven year period, having the company sign indemnity bonds so claims could be closed swiftly. The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season was particularly devastating, with two of the total eight hurricanes rated a category three or above. Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle like tissue paper, blowing Mexico Beach completely off the map. Initially, 285 people were unaccounted for in the town’s population, but was later reduced to 46 as residents were either located post-evacuation, or rescued from the wreckage. The California Camp Fire has killed 60 people to date—the deadliest in history—has displaced thousands of families attempting to outrun the flames, with many unable to contact their loved ones and let them know they’re safe. On November 14, 2018, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office released a list of 103 people who have been reported missing since the blaze began. “If your name is on the list, it means that someone is looking for you,” Sheriff Kory Honea said. “Let us know that you’re okay, so that we can stop our search for you and start looking for someone else.” That list has now swelled to 300 names and is expected to continue climbing.
Working closely with law enforcement is a major tenant of a successful claim on a missing persons’ life insurance policy, particularly on the presumption of death. The Indian Evidence Act only requires a beneficiary to wait seven years from the date of the FIR before filing the claim, but depending on where you live in the United States, law enforcement can use evidence to prove a missing persons’ death, even when a body cannot be found—for example, the case of Mike Williams, a man who went missing on a duck-hunting trip in Florida in 2000. Police found his boat floating abandoned on Lake Seminole, which prompted them to drag the lake in search of his remains. When no trace was found, authorities formed the theory Mr. Williams had fallen off the boat and was subsequently eaten by alligators. This theory of the accident explained why no body was ever recovered, allowing his widow to obtain a death certificate and collect on his $1 million-dollar insurance policy. Seventeen years after her husband was reported missing, Denise Williams was indicted on murder charges after her second husband (and Mike’s best friend), Brian Winchester confessed to killing Mike in conspiracy with his wife for the insurance money.
Law enforcement’s theory about Mike Williams disappearance created a loophole you could drive a truck through, but not all beneficiaries of life insurance policies can depend on this loophole. In some states, with the help of legal representation, beneficiaries of the missing insured can begin legal proceedings that would accelerate the issuance of a death certificate, but this comes with a much higher burden of proof, and demands a pool of evidence that would stand up to the most thorough, independent investigation procedures. In the event such evidence of death cannot be found, there is a procedure in place for those who must wait seven years following the filing of a FIR. After seven years, the beneficiary of the insured, or the heir of the insured, must submit the following documents to the insurance company:
Claimant’s statement form signed by the nominee of the legal heir
Copy of the FIR and the missing person’s report filed with the police
Original policy contract documents or indemnity bond
Copy of death certificate, or a court order presuming the person is dead after the lapse of seven years
When a loved one goes missing, a family is left in a stasis, paralyzed by their fear and ‘what-if’ games while the world selfishly continues to spin. Eventually, families need to pick up the pieces, a process eased by the financial support set up for them by the missing insured, but only if they can file a claim. If you have recently set up a life insurance policy for your family, educate them on the process of filing a claim should you go missing without a trace.
According to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there are 86,927 active missing persons cases as of April 30, 2018. These cases include juvenile disappearances, endangered missing, involuntary or “non-family” abductions, those with disabilities, catastrophe victims and those entered into NCIC as “other.”
When a person we love goes missing, a time of great emotional turmoil and intense ambiguity follows. Dr. Pauline Boss said decades ago, having a loved one go missing is one of the most traumatic of human experiences.
Not only are families trying to manage the trauma of “not knowing” where their loved one is, they must quickly learn to maneuver the legal system. When do you report a loved one missing? What happens when police get involved? What can you do to help find a missing person? These are just a few of the questions a family of a missing person is facing.
Unfortunately, there is no handbook to fully educate someone as to what do to and how to emotionally handle the initial shock or help maintain the energy needed to find a loved one who has mysteriously vanished. However, there are many things you can do to help find a missing loved one and help reduce stress for family members.
There are various contributors to cause a person to go missing. A family member may suffer from Alzheimer’s or mental illness, they may be a victim of domestic violence, live a “high risk” lifestyle, even be a victim of a vehicular accident. There are also disappearances that cannot be immediately explained.
The key to increasing the chances of finding a missing person safe is acting fast and initiating a search effort as soon as possible. From making the initial missing person report and engaging the public to hiring a private investigator, there is much to expedite finding a missing loved one.
1. Contact Authorities
Making a police report is the first and most vital step in initiating a search for a missing person. Filing a police report ensures local law enforcement is alerted to the disappearance and can assess the situation to determine if the person may be in danger and if an investigation needs to be conducted.
When a child goes missing, law enforcement is required by federal mandate to take the report immediately and enter the child’s information into the National Crime Information Center at the FBI. However, when an adult goes missing, law enforcement is not required to take an immediate report or enter the person into NCIC and may cite a 24-48 hour waiting period as policy. There is no federal mandate requiring law enforcement to wait to take a report. It helps to be calm while insisting they take a report.
Though many law enforcement agencies will take an immediate report, it is recommended to inform officers of anything to classify the person as endangered such as needing medications for a medical condition, suffering from mental illness, being a danger to themselves or others, a domestic violence situation, any threats the person may have received, a situation where it is out of normal behavior to vanish for any length of time. For example, if a mother regularly picks up her child at daycare and fails to arrive to pick their child up, this would be considered out of the behavioral norm.
Be prepared to provide authorities with the missing person’s descriptive information, a current photograph, a list of places the person frequents, list of friends and family, description of the missing person’s vehicle, a list of possessions missing or left behind, etc.
Once a report has been filed, be sure to keep a copy. Also request the NCIC number (this reflects the person has been entered into the national FBI database and available nationwide to all law enforcement, medical examiners, and Coroners).
Regardless of the circumstance of the disappearance, making a police report is beneficial.
2. Keep a Log
Keeping a log with the full names and contact information of all people you talk to is important in maintaining good communication with everyone involved in the search for the missing person and staying organized.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when making numerous phone calls, sending emails, etc. Keeping a log is a simple but important way to stay organized and maintain effectiveness, in addition to reducing stress.
3. Contact Family, Friends and Coworkers
Many times, a simple lack of communication can occur, and a missing person can be found by contacting family, friends, and coworkers.
Even after making a missing person report to police, be sure to reach out to others to find out if they have seen the individual or told where the person may be going. Life can become busy and simple miscommunication can contribute to a person being out of touch for extended periods of time. Cover all your bases by calling or texting friends to find out if they have heard from the missing person.
4. Social Networks
Social networks like Facebook can be integral to the search for a missing person from the moment the person is missing to an ongoing search if necessary.
Look at the missing person’s social media pages for their last posts, any information about their plans and even state of mind. Look to see if they received any harassing or strange communications from others.
Contact Facebook friends and ask if they have heard from or seen the missing person. It is important to provide any pertinent information you receive from others to the investigating law enforcement agency.
Also, Facebook and Instagram are the perfect places to obtain current photographs of the missing person to be provided to law enforcement and to make fliers.
5. Contact Jails, Homeless Shelters, Hospitals and Morgues
It is important to remain cognizant of law enforcement’s limitations when searching for a missing person, especially adults as they have a right to go missing if they so choose.
As difficult as it can be, it is necessary to contact hospitals and morgues to see if the individual is injured in the hospital or unidentified in a morgue. This can be a very difficult task and you may want to ask a friend or family member to help make the calls.
6. Register the Missing Person with Organizations Offering Resources
If you are searching for a missing child, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) as soon as possible. NCMEC specializes in providing services for families and children who are missing. NCMEC can be reached at 1-800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678).
For families searching for someone with mental illness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides resources for families. Their website also offers many resources.
Contact the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) at www.findthemissing.org or www.namus.org. NAMUS is a powerful resource where information about missing persons is entered by family members of missing persons, the criminal justice community, law enforcement, and medical examiners and is publicly accessible.
7. Make a One-Page Flyer
Make a one-page flyer of the missing person. The flyer should contain the following:
Preferably two current photographs of the missing person
Height, Weight, Age
Photo of vehicle and license plate
Place last seen
Phone number of investigating law enforcement
*NOTE: It is recommended you never place your own phone number or contact information on a missing person flyer. First, it is very important calls are handled by a professional so as not to compromise an investigation. Second, many times families will receive cruel, harassing, and misleading calls from the public and it is very important to protect yourself and your family by buffering these calls.
Engage the public by asking community store owners to hang signs in their place of businesses. Place one at your local post office and anywhere you can legally hang a public notice.
8. Create a Website and Social Media Page
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social network sites can be instrumental when searching for a missing loved one, especially if they are not found immediately. With any missing person case, it is important to maintain awareness and keep the public engaged in the search.
Create a site with an engaging name like “Find Jane Doe” or “Missing Jane Smith”. This will help bring your page up in Google and related search results.
Post recent pictures and include specific descriptive information to include the clothing they were last wearing, jewelry, glasses, tattoos, scars, etc.
Upload a PDF version of the flier so others can share and download to post in their communities.
If your loved one has a mental illness, you may want to simply say the person is “endangered” due to a medical condition or vulnerable and needs medications.
Add links to any news stories.
Upload a video and make a personal public appeal.
Make sure to provide the investigating law enforcement agency’s number and encourage people to call them directly with information and leads.
9. Alert your Local Newspapers and Media
Getting local media to assist can sometimes be difficult. News stations are not likely to cover a missing person story unless it comes from law enforcement. It is much easier if law enforcement puts out a press release indicating a person is in danger. Speak to the detectives and ask if they will issue a press release.
10. Hiring a Private Investigator
When is it time to hire a private investigator? There is no easy answer, but it is encouraged to consult with one early on, especially if the person has not returned home within a few days.
Because there is only so much law enforcement can do, at times finding the missing person requires additional assistance, both professional and specialized.
A missing person private investigator has access to databases and systems the general public does not, making finding a missing person a much easier task. An experienced private detective with experience working with law enforcement can be an asset to a missing person investigation, and can ease the burden off families, allowing family and friends to concentrate on other efforts, like social networking and keeping the public engaged.
Experienced private investigators can access information, interview witnesses and community members in order to generate new leads for an investigation, sharing information with the investigating law enforcement agency to ensure all rocks are being overturned.
Because their missing person private investigation services are being paid for, a private investigator will ensure locating the missing person has their full attention.
It is also advisable to look for a missing person private investigator who has experience working with media, so they may comment on the case without compromising law enforcement’s investigation.
About Kym L. Pasqualini
Kym Pasqualini is founder and served as CEO for the Nation’s Missing Children Organization and National Center for Missing Adults from 1994-2010. Kym has worked with media world-wide and quoted in publications such as People Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Glamour. Kym has appeared in local and national media to include CNN, FOX, BBC, Montel Williams and the John Walsh Show. Kym continues to work with families of the missing and law enforcement nationwide.
People go missing every day, and because of the complexity of a missing persons’ case under the eyes of the law sometimes it may be necessary to hire an independent missing persons investigator to get the job done. At times an independent missing persons investigator can step in on a case when law enforcement can help no further, since missing persons’ cases are often considered ‘cold’ by and sometimes not even classified as ‘missing’ by the police.
According to Todd Matthews from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Systems (NamUs), a national database for missing persons, on average, about 90,000 persons are missing in the United States of America at any given time. With the odds of one of your loved ones being in that number it’s important to know how to hire a missing persons investigator to assist in their safe return home. Luckily, if you are already in such an unfortunate situation yourself you can use this guide to make the right choice and hire a reliable independent missing persons investigator.
Chances are your first instinct may be to check the telephone directory. However, this may not be a good idea as there are a few distinct traits that a missing persons investigator must have, which you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at an ad. We suggest you look into a few other places instead, such as a clerk at your county’s police department, speaking with a criminal defense lawyer, the duty agency at your local FBI, or simply asking a friend or family member for a recommendation.
Now, we mentioned that there are certain traits that a reliable independent missing persons investigator should have. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the most important traits that you should look out for when doing your research and interviewing prospective investigators.
Missing Persons Investigator Licence
Because of the varying laws in different states, it’s also important to know whether or not the investigator is licensed since some states don’t require an independent missing persons investigator to be licensed anyone could claim to be an investigator without actually being legitimate. Ensure that the person you are researching has a licence as it is further proof of their credibility.
Educated in Criminal Justice
It’s imperative that a missing persons investigator not only have some education in criminal justice but also possess a degree to prove it. According to PrivateInvestigatorEDU.org the best degrees to look out for are:
Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Associates of Science in Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration – Human Services
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Another requirement is that an investigators’ background is clean, meaning that they have no criminal record, there hasn’t been any disciplinary actions filed against them, nor have they had any complaints with previous clients. This is important because most investigators would want to honor their good reputation and work extra hard on your case to make sure that their record remains intact.
Works from an Office
Working as an independent missing persons investigator requires a lot of energy, it involves dealing with panicky relatives and emotional loved ones. Because of this, the job can be very exhausting and must be done in a professional environment for maximum efficiency.
If an investigator is working out of his basement it’s hardly likely he can manage the stress of such a task. It’s also safe to assume that he or she has the necessary resources to handle the job. If the investigator was serious about finding missing persons they would have rented an office.
We also recommend that the investigator who you choose to hire has a history of solved cases and a good reputation in the field, as this could increase the chances of your case being solved since. There is a flip side to this, however, as there are some investigators who won’t take a case because just like the police they believe it’s a ‘cold’ one.
If possible, you should seek references and testimonials from other families and non-profit organizations for proof of their achievements. What’s even better is if one or more of their solved cases has made it to the news, then you’ll know that they’re serious about their job.
Good Personality Traits
A great way to tell if you have the right investigator is by their personality traits. Not only should a good independent missing persons investigator have the knowledge and know-how of the trade, but he or she should also have an excellent personality.
Things to look out for are trustworthiness, friendliness, honesty, creativity, passion, and persistence. There is no point in hiring a slimy investigator or one who doesn’t put his all into the job because then you’ll end up paying someone who helps you less than the police when often times the reason why you had to turn to an investigator was because the case was out of the authorities’ hands.
Some of these traits can be picked up during your interview with the investigator, while others would only be apparent by speaking with their previous clients or the person/s who recommended them to you.
Finally, an independent missing persons investigator must show certain professional habits in order to be considered reliable. Simple things like returning calls promptly and updating you on the progress of the investigation is a just a couple things that are expected from a professional independent missing persons investigator.
Again, you could save yourself the trouble by asking these questions to the person who referred the investigator to you instead of finding out afterward that their working habits are unprofessional.
Another important thing to focus on is how specific the investigator is when it comes to billing. A trustworthy investigator will always make sure that a contract is drafted and that there is full transparency when discussing payment. Be sure to have a lawyer look over the contract if you must and make sure that there is nothing questionable in the fine print.
Hiring an independent missing persons investigator is an important decision, which is why it’s important that you get the right person for the job. If you’ve ever lost someone you loved then you know that emotional distress can be overwhelming. With these tips and suggestions, you should have no trouble making the correct choice and hiring an investigator who will ease some of your concerns.
Have you ever hired a missing persons investigator before? Do you still have any questions? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to get back to you.
Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or is abducted. Scary, huh? However, contrary to popular belief, many child abductions are not carried out by strangers. The reality is most children who are kidnapped are taken by their own parents.
Parental Abductions: Why Do They Happen
According to the latest stats, nearly 204,000 were victims of family abduction in 2014. This is done for a wide variety of reasons, but usually occurs when a custodial order is not viewed as being “fair” by one of the parents.
When this parent is allowed their court-appointed time with their child, they choose to leave the area and not return their child to their custodial parent. Leaving the area doesn’t necessarily mean they leave the state. It might just mean that they don’t return to their home or return the child to their home.
International parental child abduction rates have dropped by 12.23% over the last 4 years—however, that’s still not high enough in our books.
Child victims of international parental kidnapping are often taken from a familiar environment and suddenly isolated from their community, family, and friends. They may miss months or even years of schooling.
The child may be moved to multiple locations in order to stay hidden or out of reach of the parent remaining in the United States. In some cases, the child´s name, birth date, and physical appearance are altered or concealed to hide identity.
At Lauth Investigations, we’ve handled quite a number of parental abduction cases for our clients over the years. One of our more high-profile cases involved the kidnapping of Jasmin, 9, and Felix, 6, of Germany.
Several years ago, their father abducted them to the United States, prompting the mother, Susanne, to take every necessary action to return them back to Germany—but it was no easy task.
She reached out to lawyers in Germany and the USA, the FBI, the American embassy as well as organizations that specialize in parental abduction cases. However, none of these agencies appeared to move fast enough or provide her with the answers she so desperately needed in a timely manner.
That’s when she reached out to us. To make a long story short, it took us just two days to learn that Susanne’s children were living with their father in Charlotte, N.C. Local authorities were contacted and they eventually took the children, placing them temporarily in foster care. As soon as she learned the news, their mother left Germany to see her children after nearly two month of them being taken from her.
Eventually, a judge soon ruled in Susanne’s favor. She was able to return with her children back to Germany. Unfortunately, like many parents involved in similar cases, Susanne made the mistake of solely relying on the authorities for help. In fact, he cost her six weeks.
“Police, youth welfare office, embassy, Federal Office of Justice are all necessary, but don’t help searching,” she told a German newspaper. “You, yourself, have to take the first steps, take care and take advantage of the experience of others.”
The Challenges Of International Parental Kidnapping
Resolving child custody issues can be quite challenging and often times emotional. When that battle over custody transcends across the globe and jurisdictions of different countries, there is always a heightened level of complexity involved—especially when there may be communication barriers.
In the United States, federal law prohibits a parent from removing a child from this country or retaining a child in another country with intent to obstruct another parent´s custodial rights.
However, it’s important to understand: The FBI has no investigative jurisdiction outside the U.S., except on the high seas and other locations specifically granted by Congress.
Hague Convention On The Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction
This is the primary, go-to civil law mechanism for parents seeking the return of their children from other treaty partner countries. Countries that are party to the Convention have agreed that a child who was habitually resident in one Convention country, and who has been removed to or retained in another Convention country in violation of the left-behind parent’s custodial rights, shall be returned.
Once the child has been returned, any custody dispute can then be resolved in the courts of that jurisdiction. The Convention, however, does not address who should have custody of the child; it addresses where the custody case should be heard.
The circumstances of every abduction case are different and each requires a tailored response. It’s so important that you call and discuss your child’s case with a country officer as soon as possible to determine options available to you in seeking the return of your child. However, don’t completely rely on law enforcement authorities to locate your child. Take matters into your own hands and seek the help of an agency who specializes in international parental kidnapping cases. They can guide you in the right direction.
Lauth Investigations and Thomas Lauth are experts in helping families locate missing loved ones.
While each missing persons case is different and results will vary, Lauth has been helping families for more than 20 years and boasts nearly an 85% success rate.
If you or someone you know need assistance, call them today at 1.800.889.FIND or 317.951.1100.
It’s a rather startling number. At any given time, there are between 100,000 and 300,000 children in the U.S. alone at risk for child sex trafficking. While many people tend to think this horrific crime is something that only occurs in third world countries, they are sadly mistaken. This modern day form of slavery is alive and well in our own backyards. Girls are not the only targets either—so are boys.
“These are not children living in some faraway place, far from everyday life,” FBI Director James Comey stated. “These are our children. On our streets. Our truck stops. Our motels. These are America’s children. They are not for sale”
To put the problem in perspective, consider these alarming numbers:
75% of underage sex trafficking victims said they had been advertised or sold online.
A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and exploits an average of 4-6 girls.
325,000 children are at risk for becoming victims of sexual exploitation in the United States.
The average age of entry into the sex trade in America is 12 – 14 years old.
U.S. Cities Notorious For Sex Trafficking
In 2003 as a part of its Innocence Lost National Initiative, the FBI identified 18 U.S. cities where child prostitution is a major problem. Atlanta ranked number one on the list—a number city and community leaders are obviously not too happy about. However, they’re determined to combat the problem head on.
“It’s a moral evil. It’s a moral cancer in the midst of a great city, and it’s something as a faith-based community are trying to address,” stated Cheryl Deluca-Johnson with the non-profit group Street Grace
Her organization is a non-denominational alliance of churches, community partners, and volunteers whose goal is to bring an end to commercial sexual exploitation in Atlanta and duplicate these efforts in cities across America.
“One of our initiatives is supporting at-risk neighborhoods,” she stated. “We know that if all we do is rescue rather than prevent children from entering it in the first place, then we’ll increase the number of children affected by it.”
Of course, Atlanta is not the only city grappling with this massive problem. According to the FBI, the other following cities are hubs for human trafficking:
Grooming: What It Is
Grooming is the process by which an offender draws a victim into a sexual relationship and maintains that relationship in secrecy. The shrouding of the relationship is an essential feature of grooming.
The grooming sex offender works to separate the victim from peers, typically by engendering in the child a sense that they are special to the child and giving a kind of love to the child that the child needs.
According to the organization, 68 percent of these likely sex trafficking victims were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran. However, victims could be anyone—your son, your daughter, neighbor, niece or nephew.
The Warning Signs
It’s not uncommon for a law enforcement officer to list a child as a runaway rather than endangered and a victim of sex trafficking. That’s why it’s so important to pay close attention to these ten warning signs below:
1. Unknown numbers on phone bills or unexpected credit card charges
It’s important that parents are attentive to a child’s phone bills. In an open and honest environment, it can be helpful to sit down and go over the charges/call with the child to learn who they’re interacting with.
2. Going missing from home at odd hours or for days
Although this warning sign may see somewhat obvious, it is usually the excuse or reasoning behind their absence or location that is cause or concern. Keep in mind that trafficker want to conceal the child’s activities by using threats or force, making it harder to verify their whereabouts.
3. Unexplained relationships or interactions with older adults
These types of relationships are clearly inappropriate, but the underlying danger is that the older individual could be manipulating or forcing the child to perform sexual acts or favors.
4. Alcohol or drug use
Alcohol and drugs are common ways that traffickers recruit children into the sex industry. The goal of the trafficker is to diminish a child’s natural resistance to unnatural situations and/or to get victims addicted so that they will do anything to get their next fix.
Any signs of physical or sexual abuse are major causes for concern. Adults should be aware that predators seek anonymity; therefore, external signs of abuse may be hard to identify. More likely, evidence of abuse shows up in changes in behavior or emotions.
6. Delinquent behaviors or increase of criminal activity
Trafficked victims are not just forced to perform sexual favors. Traffickers force victims to steal, lie, cheat or con in addition to selling themselves. Many times, the victims are not engaging in these activities themselves but rather for the older adult.
7. Withdrawal or loss of interest in age appropriate activities
Children at risk of becoming victims exhibit low self-esteem and poor self-image. Predators will prey on children by convincing them that they are valued, thereby luring them away from normal activities and social interactions.
8. Sudden increase in absences and tardiness from school
If a child is not attending school or suddenly begins to miss a lot of school, then they are likely with someone else. Predators will seek to draw children away from activities that they don’t really like to convince them that more enjoyable activities can be had away from supervision.
9. New “street name”
Predators will convince children to go by other “street names” or pet names in order to conceal their identity and age.
10. Sudden change in dressing patterns, personal hygiene or grooming
This warning sign is not a typical teenager showing interest in make-up or nicer clothes. This is a sudden and drastic change in their appearance and grooming habits.
Lauth Investigations and Thomas Lauth are experts in helping families locate missing loved ones.
While each missing persons case is different and results will vary, Lauth has been helping families for more than 20 years and boasts nearly an 85% success rate.
If you or someone you know need assistance, call them today at 1.800.889.FIND or 317.951.1100