What to do after getting out of an abusive relationship or trafficking situation.
- Keep your residence locked at all times. Consider changing your locks if the controller has a key or may be able to access your residence.
- If moving to a new residence, only disclose your address to people that you trust and consider accessing the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).
- Consider taking out a protective order against the controller so that he/she will be legally prohibited from contacting you.
- While options vary by location, you can typically obtain a protective order civilly without talking to or involving law enforcement.
Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 to find the service provider nearest you that can assist you in long-term safety planning, including taking out a protective order or accessing the ACP in your state.
- If the controller has made unwanted contact, document the contact made (calls, texts, showing up at your work/home, etc.) and save any voicemails and text messages that are threatening in nature.
- Consider changing your phone number to a number unknown by the controller. Most cell phone carriers will allow you to block individuals or to change numbers at no or low cost.
- Keep a cell phone or emergency phone on you at all times. If you feel comfortable, tell your neighbors, employer, or friends to call the police if they see the controller near, in, or around the residence or you.
Develop a special signal (lights flickering on and off, code word, code text message, hand signal, etc.) to use with a trusted neighbor, relative, friend or service provider to notify them that you are in danger or need help. This can be the same safety signal used while exiting the situation or something new.
- Be sure to communicate what action steps you would like taken if you use the signal (call 9-1-1, check-in, pick up your children, etc.).
- If you have children who were also in the trafficking situation, create a safety plan with them making sure they know what do if the controller makes unwanted contact and how to call someone for help.
- If your child still has ongoing contact with the controller, discuss a safety plan and how to keep themselves safe while with the controller.
- Consider referencing this resource for information on rebuilding your finances after leaving a financially abusive relationship