“Yesterday’s drug dealers are today’s pimps.”
Misconceptions vs. Truths about Sex Trafficking:
Statistics You May Not Know:
- Greater than 100,000 online escort ads are posted daily in the US
- Over 300,000 victims in Texas
- Over 79,000 Texas victims are children
- Average age of a victim: 13
- Average life expectancy is 7 years
6 Step Process Used on Urban and Suburban Kids to Groom and Recruit:
This step is the hardest step to recognize. A new, seemingly, non-threatening “friend” strikes up a friendship with your teen. The new friend is typically fun, seems very nice, and often acts as a mentor. Groomers can be anywhere, even at school or church, and some groomers have fake parents or a fake family in a home that is set up only as a facade for the recruiting process.
This step introduces friction in the teen’s relationships at home. The new friend’s objective is to make sure your child has fun and feels “cool”, often introducing alcohol and/or drugs. The friend (aka groomer) will increase the frequency and ease of access to alcohol and/or drugs. Your child begins to feel a sense of independence and a desire to fit in because “everyone” is doing the same.
This step begins to turn a teen against his or her parents. ln front of parents, a groomer will be polite and nice. Some groomers have fake families that seem to be nurturing and well-intentioned. Behind the parent’s back, the groomer begins to berate the teen’s parents and point out parents’ unreasonable expectations, with the goal of driving a wedge in between the teen and his or her parents.
This step separates a teen from old friends who share core values. A groomer begins to introduce your teen to “new” friends who are “more fun”. Parents may start to discover that their teen has stopped hanging around old friends, even lifelong best friend. The new friends support and accept the teen, while the old friends disapprove. The teen might begin to lie about activities, saying that he or she spending time with an old friend when really with the new friend group. Once the trafficker fully takes a teen through this step, the teen is in real and immediate danger.
This step begins to disorient the teen’s moral compass. The groomer starts talking to the teen about having a “better” life, continues to introduce new, older friends, perhaps at a nightclub where the teen somehow gets in, despite being underage. The new friend group fawns over the teen, making him or her feel extra special, reinforcing the idea that the teen’s parents are the enemy. The new friends seem to have money and a great lifestyle and entice the teen to begin participating in activities that are normally forbidden (e.g. dancing for money, dealing or doing drugs).
The purpose of this final step is to take a child away from parents through brainwashing, coercion, kidnapping or a combination of the three. The groomer’s intent is to take a daughter or son and make money on him or her. The recruiters wait patiently and take advantage of the right opportunity when it presents itself. Your teen takes a ride with a rapper after the 18th birthday or goes to a party and disappears, never returning home. In this step, if the recruiters can keep your teen away for more than three weeks, it is very difficult to find and rescue the victim.