Traffickers purposely seek out vulnerable individuals that they believe can be easily manipulated. Grooming is the precursor process in which a trafficker gradually gains a person’s trust as they begin to gather information with the intent to exploit them. This takes place on social media and anywhere the individual hangs out, such as shopping malls, bus stops, school, through friends, and more. Every single person has vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
The trafficker begins to isolate the victim and works to fill a need the victim has in their life, creating a dependency between the victim and the trafficker. To do this, they often will buy gifts, provide a feeling of safety, offer a place to sleep, act as a trusted friend, begin a love relationship, or buy them drugs and alcohol. Over time, the victim learns that nothing is for free, and what was offered in kindness is exposed as a scheme to trap them in a life of exploitation.
The trafficker begins demanding that all of the “favors” and “gifts” need to be repaid. Gifts are as common as trips to the nail salon, car rides, the safe places they have been offered to sleep, or drugs to numb them out. The victim is controlled and manipulated to provide sexual services as payment. It can begin with requests for illicit images (sexting) that are then used to threaten the victim to provide more. It is not uncommon for a victim to provide sexual services to ten or more customers a night. That adds up to 3,650 rapes per year. If the victim resists, they may be beaten, starved, have their family threatened, and more.
A pimp is a perpetrator seeking to profit from the exploitation of individuals.
Criminal street gangs engage sex trafficking as a lucrative enterprise while exploiting individuals.
Familial is the abuse or exploitation of an individual at the hands of someone they are related to.
Illicit Massage Businesses (IMB’s) are commercial storefronts that exploit individuals while masquerading as a legitimate massage business.
“Understanding our proximity to Washington Dulles International Airport and the fact that human/sex trafficking of children is a $100-million industry in the DC Metropolitan area, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office works closely with Reset180. We also work with our local, state and federal partners to eradicate sex and labor trafficking in Northern Virginia. Reset180 provides critical services to victims of human trafficking in the region and through education and prevention helps combat these horrific crimes.” – Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office
Is prostitution a choice? Some states are pushing for the full decriminalization of prostitution, however it has been proven that sex trafficking rises significantly in the states and nations that do so. We are in favor of the Nordic (or equality) model that holds the traffickers and sex buyers accountable for their criminal activity, while providing those prostituted with the resources they need.