Haley Garber (@hairbyhaleygarber) is known for her elegant upstyling. She's a stylist who travels the country as an ambassador for brands and as one of the MODERN SALON Artist Connective. She is also passionate about being an advocate for salon education around human trafficking--what is it, how to spot it, and how to direct victims to places of support. Garber has partnered with Wella Education and Hairdressers at Heart for an extra push in these efforts; with January being Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Wella is organizing leaders in the salon professional space like Haley to help raise awareness of this crisis and share critical information with people across the country.  Haley has written about human trafficking for MODERN SALON, before, and she shares an update on actions that interested stylists can take to help to identify and report trafficking victims. 

These Are the Signs That Someone May Be Trafficked
These Are the Signs That Someone May Be Trafficked

Haley Garber 

It seems every time we open social media we see the words “sex trafficking” and “human trafficking” show up in our feeds. It is more prevalent in our daily lives than ever before with 10,949 cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. As beauty professionals we have opportunities to change peoples lives every day and this issue is no different.

Trafficking and the beauty industry have a closer relation than we may initially realize. In addition to spas and other beauty related businesses being the #1 location for both sex and labor trafficking in the US, traffickers also use our industry during the grooming phase. This is a process of building a form of trust and dependency in the trafficker with the victim. Treating someone with a beauty service is one way to do this.

Potential victims can be any age, race, gender or nationality. The most common age of entry into trafficking is 12-14. The traffickers targeting these victims could be a significant other or family member which makes identifying a potential victim difficult. But with proper awareness and education we can take steps to help save someone.

Here are some common signs that we can be aware of:

  • Does someone else accompany them, make decisions for them about the services they are receiving, and pay cash?
  • Does the person with them seem to be watching the client closely, “keeping an eye” on them?
  • Does the client avoid eye contact or stay unusually reserved?
  • Does the client know where they are?
  • Does the client have any “branding” that visible? Branding refers to tattoos often along the back of the neck and behind the ear, it could be a barcode or name/”daddy’s girl”, and more.
  • Does the client have bruising in various stages of healing along the scalp and/or neck?
  • Is the client fearful or tense?

This is only a brief list of signs that we may see in our workplace. Ideal situations for traffickers would be larger and busier salons and beauty schools which are easy to get in and out of without drawing too much attention to them. With the complexity of Human Trafficking, taking educational courses about human trafficking is important to help to identify and have a full understading of what human trafficking is.

If you feel that you have someone in your chair that may be a victim, the next steps are crucial. You can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 which will put you in contact with with support advocates who will talk you through your current situation.

Do not put yourself or the victim in danger by drawing attention to the victim or by confronting the trafficker. Keeping both of you safe is a priority. You can also text 233733 to get additional information to learn more about human trafficking.

This is a very hands on part of how we are able to be involved in stopping Human Trafficking in our areas. There is even more that we are able to do by knowing the truth about trafficking, such as ensuring that we are investing in fair labor items (such as extension hair) and being aware of sharing educated information on social media. This is a widespread problem with many avenues of involvement available in ending it.

As stylists we are often skilled at reading body language and social situations from working with so many people daily. When we combine that natural inclination with education on this topic and have the National Trafficking Hotline numbers saved into our phones we are able to potentially save someone. To find training in your area and more information such as myths and facts, statistics and more, go to w ww.polarisproject.org or www.humantraffickignhotline.org. In addition, you can find even more information about how human trafficking and cosmetology connect in both sex and labor trafficking by going to the Hairdressers at Heart Facebook or Instagram page.

These Are the Signs That Someone May Be Trafficked
These Are the Signs That Someone May Be Trafficked


National Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

Text: 33733 (text HELP or INFO)



Haley Garber @beautybyhaleygarber is a member of the MODERN SALON Artist Connective, a stylist in Ohio specializing in special occasion styling, bridal, updos and creative color.  She is also passionate about bringing awareness to this important topic. 

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