If you recognize any of these signs in someone you are speaking with online, take the following steps immediately:
Stop talking with them and block them. Period. There is no need to explain. You don’t owe them anything. Your safety should come before any societal niceties.
Save and take screenshots of your conversations with them. If your intuition is correct, they are probably dangerous and will try to twist the situation. Even if you are ashamed of the content of the conversation or feel like whatever happened was your fault—which it wasn’t—you never know when you might need receipts of these conversations.
Report them to the app. If they are talking with you, they might be talking with other young people who might not be as knowledgeable about online sex trafficking as you are. The app needs to know so they can investigate.
Report them to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline. Not only will the experts at NCMEC be able connect you with resources to help you heal, they will also advocate for your tip to law enforcement. This could not only lead to justice for you, but it could actually help save the lives of the other people the trafficker is manipulating!
For more information about online sex trafficking and how to keep yourself (and others) safe from it, visit sharedhope.org/internetsafety.