Human trafficking can be difficult to detect, which is why it is important to be educated on the signs of a trafficker.
The phrase “stranger danger” has been drilled into every child’s brain and becomes more important over time. Human trafficking is increasing, and anyone could be involved.
Traffickers have been known to create a personal connection with their victims to gain trust.
Many victims of human trafficking became victims through psychological manipulation. Traffickers act like they are the victims significant other purely to build trust with the victim.
In an interview with the LBD Project, a human trafficking organization, human trafficking victim Marjorie Saylor explained how she was victimized by family.
“Growing up in a home of domestic violence,” Saylor said. “Child sexual abuse opened me up for exploitation.”
In some cases, victims do not have any personal connection to their trafficker. Some victims are simply taken or traded across borders.
Victims can be recruited through threats, promised high paying jobs, or other new opportunities. Most victims are vulnerable enough to give into their traffickers tactics.
Another victim, Jaimee Johnson, also interviewed with the LBD Project.
“I met my trafficker in a nightclub and had too much to drink,” Johnson said. “In the midst of the night I had told him too many things including where I lived and how me and my daughters were financially hurting.”
Johnson unknowingly opened up to a trafficker that night, not knowing what this stranger was capable of.
“The next day he told me he could take care of us and make sure I had plenty of money,” Johnson said. “Little did I know he meant prostitution.”
Studies have shown that some traffickers recruit victims at high school football games. They will show up each game and slowly become close with the person they target as the football season continues.
Anyone can be a trafficker, which opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to their tactics to recruit victims. However, there are some specific things to look out for.
A trafficker will force and manipulate their victims into conducting tasks they do not consent to. If an individual has someone constantly speaking for them or always has someone watching over their shoulder, they may be a victim of trafficking.
Many individuals involved in labor trafficking will be working excessively long and or unusual hours with lack of breaks. Victims are also typically unpaid, paid little or only paid through tips.
Victims may also be dealing with high security measures such as bars on windows, security cameras, and not being allowed to come and go as they please. Individuals who are rarely in the public eye may be a victim.
The majority of victims will not be in control of their money or identification documents and typically will be unable to identify their address. Some victims of trafficking move around frequently, whether it is between houses, states, or continents.
Victims may also constantly be drugged or suffering from withdrawals. Many believe that traffickers use drugs to make their victims easier to control.
Many sex trafficking victims are minors. According to federal law, anyone under the age of 18 who is involved in sexual exploitation are victims of sex trafficking.
The Human Trafficking Hot-line offers services to help.
Call the Human Trafficking Hot-line at 1-888-373-7888, text 233733, or anonymously report trafficking on their website HumanTraffickingHotline.org.