How Sex Traffickers Use Emojis on Instagram

How do sex traffickers use emoji symbols on social media apps like Instagram to sell children and find clients?
  • The profile page or post descriptions will have specific emoji icons. What are they?
  • Why do human traffickers use emojis? To secretly communicate with buyers and potential clients.
  • Can you search a specific emoji on Instagram? Yes! How?
    1. When you login to the app, go to the ‘magnifying glass’ icon at the bottom of the screen.
    2. Type the emoji that you want to look up (use your cell phone’s keyboard).
    3. Click the category field labeled “Top “. In this example, we typed in the “growing heart” image. emoji-growing-heart-sex-trafficking-code-meaning
    4. Now scroll down the page on your phone until you see the emoji accompanied by a hashtag #. The app will automatically add the hashtag so you do not have to type it in. For instructions on how to do this, refer to the screenshot for a visual reference.skeptical-world-emoji-growing-heart-sex-trafficking-instagram
What are 6 ways to find suspected (male and female) pimps and gang members selling minors on Instagram? 
  1. Search by Location:
  2. Check the Profile Page:
  3. Check out their Posts:
  4. Does the woman in the photo have one of these clearly defined tattoos? 
  5. Is there a group of girls in the photo and only 1 man?
  6. What is the girl wearing? Luxury or designer clothes? Or, is she dressed seductively?
    • This is not always a guarantee. Unfortunately it can be difficult to distinguish victims of trafficking from those who are not when observing the large quantity of pictures on the app.
  7. Here’s a few more ideas!


Email Us: