How does a trafficker lure someone into being trafficked?
Here’s how trafficking can happen:
Luring: The sex trafficker can be a stranger, someone you know, or someone connected to you through your social network. They may suddenly be very interested in you and say nice things, pay attention to you, take you out and spend money on you.
Grooming: The sex trafficker may act like a generous boyfriend or friend, make you feel amazing and adored, get you used to a new lifestyle and spend money on things like lingerie, accessories, and new clothes. They may also try to get you to look older or sexier and push your boundaries by asking you to try out things that are risky like take nude selfies.
Isolation: The sex trafficker may try to cut you off from your friends and family and make you feel like they are the only person who cares about you. This helps them control you.
Manipulation: At some point, the sex trafficker will ask you to do sexual things to pay back the money that has been spent on you, to maintain your new lifestyle or to earn money for your future together. The sex trafficker may also tell you they owe someone money and something bad will happen to them if you don’t do what they want.
Threats: The sex trafficker may try to coerce you into sex by threatening to expose the things you’ve done in order to humiliate you. They may also threaten to hurt you or someone you care about.
Exploitation: The main goal of the sex trafficker is to exploit you by making you have sex with other people in exchange for money. This is different from sex work, where the person is over 18 and legally able to consent.
If a person isn’t kept locked up or in chains, why don’t they just leave?
Some people who are trafficked are controlled and monitored constantly and don’t have the opportunity to ask for help. Others may not realize or acknowledge what is happening to them is a crime. In some cases, they may fear their trafficker or law enforcement too much to try to leave. They may also be manipulated to believe that the trafficker is the only person who cares about them and that they are better off staying with their trafficker.
Who are the traffickers?
The sex trafficker might be a stranger, someone you know, or someone connected to you through your social network. They may suddenly be very interested in you and say nice things, pay attention to you, take you out and spend money on you.
In most cases, the person knows their trafficker. It may be someone in their family, community or someone they’re in a relationship with.