What Are the 6 Truths YOU Should Know About Sex Trafficking?



#1.  Traffickers are known as "Real Ones". This is because that is all they have.


#2.  Traffickers are the most reliable people you will ever meet.


#3.  Victims of sex trafficking do not see themselves as victims.


#4.  The sex trafficking problem. Isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, if you were to Google sex trafficking today, you would see that statistically, the problem is growing and getting bigger every year.


#5.  The internet absolutely facilitates sex trafficking!


#6.  The power of awareness IS something you can do to combat sex trafficking.


Let's discuss...


Now let's talk about the first point, Traffickers are "Real Ones".


I called them real ones because they are very open about what they are doing.... if you just look. They are posting on social media with pages full of derogatory memes towards women, they post about being a pimp and they are flashy. They advertise a lifestyle of the "Game" or the "Pimping Lifestyle" and they try to glamorize it attempting to attract vulnerable individuals to want to be like them and live like them.... no matter the cost!  They might have expensive vehicles or display expensive clothing or shoes. They're very flashy about travel and going on expensive dining excursions at exclusive restaurants. Sometimes, they have a lot of women around them. They're very flashy and bragging about who they are portraying if you were to just look at their social media posts.


Point number two. Traffickers and the most reliable people you will ever meet... and I have ever met.


Let me explain.  Traffickers use threats to show how reliable they are. For example, they might tell a victim threatening them that they will show their family inappropriate pictures they've taken with the trafficker.  Or they might use inappropriate videos that they've taken with the trafficker to cause the victim shame by threatening to show these pictures and videos to their family... or worse they might threaten to put them on the internet. 


They might tell family members about the victim being arrested or getting caught by the police.  They will do what they have to do to make the victims believe that they are going to carry out their threats... Because that is all they have.  They spend all day long doing nothing but managing their victims and they are very skilled at making their victims feel that they will carry out their threats. 


Traffickers will use violence to make sure a victim believes them also.  If the victim let's say violated a particular rule set for them by the trafficker, then the victim will get beat up or assaulted.  It may not be done by the trafficker.  The person who assaults them might be directed by the trafficker to carry out the punishment and that person might be another victim under the trafficker's direction.  They may assault other individuals that are around the group as an example for the victim to see what will happen to them if they don't follow the rules.  


In the reverse of that, traffickers also use promises and incentives. It may be a little promise here or a little promise there. They may give victims some incentive for working hard and making more money to give to the trafficker. They may set goals for them to accomplish, such as "quotas". A "quota" is an amount of money that the victim would need to earn by the end of the night to achieve the goal. This quota may need to be accomplished before the victim is allowed to return to the hotel to sleep, to take a shower, to eat or to even change clothes. 


More often than not, that reward is something that the trafficker can use against their victims.   It's something that they can take away and it's something that they do take away. I once had a case I was investigating involving a victim who was given a puppy and the trafficker initially used that puppy as a reward incentive.  But then the trafficker took that puppy away, restricted the victim's access to the puppy, and also used the puppy to manipulate the victim by threatening to hurt it.


"This is why I say that traffickers are extremely reliable... because that is all they have!"



Point number three. Victims of sex trafficking do not see themselves as victims.


All through the years that I was a detective in the human exploitation and trafficking unit, in a city that is now the 5th largest city in the United States, I have interviewed thousands of sex trafficking victims both adults and juveniles. I've realized several things... Firstly, law enforcement Isn't asking the question, or if they are, they just started too... and that is what has caused victims to view law enforcement as not helpful. The question is "What can we do to help you get out of your situation?"  It sounds like a simple question, but we were not asking that of victims before.


Law enforcement also doesn't have immediate resources to offer a victim. So, when "we" claim that we want to help a victim, are we really able to help them right then, in the moment of their traumatic event? 


Law enforcement needs to get resources and have them be available right away.  In the city that I worked for, we had a victim advocate assigned to the unit that went out on operations in the middle of the night alongside the detectives.  The victim advocate was available to confidentially, speak with victims, take them aside and listen to their concerns and try to actually give help to them right in the moment of their rescue. This is imperative for agencies to consider and to try and make this a thing that they can accomplish when they do proactive operations.


The second realization is that victims are not coming forward. Because the bond that they have with their trafficker is extremely strong. It isn't something that even one contact with law enforcement, even in a [00:07:00] positive way is going to cause them to leave. Law enforcement needs to understand this and they need to put things in place and take steps to battle.


This bond that victims have with their trafficker.


Otherwise, they truly will not be able to get a victim justice...  and be able to set them free.


Number four. The sex trafficking problem isn't going anywhere, anytime soon... In fact, It's growing.


In the time that I have investigated sex trafficking. I have learned that statistics are often not accurate. If you were to look at the 2022 Sex Trafficking in the United States document the state department put out, you would see that they estimate "15,000 to 50,000 women and children are forced into sex the slavery industry in the United States every year".


Now that's a big gap between the stats "15,000 and 50,000".  I don't believe statistics are ever going to be accurate because a lot of what goes on is not even reported at all. Additionally, you will find stats about how much money is being made by this industry. One stat recently quoted "$40 billion dollars".  I would say that this stat could be an accurate estimate based on what I have experienced when seizing illegally gained financial assets from traffickers. 


I have learned that sex trafficking is a way for criminals to manipulate people into making them money, 24 hours a day- seven days a week.  If a trafficker has multiple victims working for them, imagine how much money they are making... Tax-free by the way.


I would argue that traffickers also recognize that trafficking another person, saves them from being caught by the police.  Because as long as they can control the mouth, of their victims, so that they're not able to speak to law enforcement or anyone else about what has been happening to them. Then traffickers "know" or feel that they are safe from law enforcement. No one will know what's going on. No one will tip off law enforcement, and they will be free to continue to make all of the money on the backs of the victims they manipulate into committing sex acts for money.


As for point 5. The internet absolutely facilitates sex trafficking.


This is perhaps the worst truth because the internet is not an easy place to remove things online once it's posted. It is also extremely hard to cause internet companies to make corrections when they have posted images of juveniles in sexually related images.


The internet also offers traffickers a way to reach a large vast number of potential victims.  I once investigated a trafficker who was attempting to recruit me on an undercover social media account.  After I had completed the case and conducted a search warrant of the social media conversations, I found that the trafficker had sent the same message to me that he sent to 91 other accounts, all female, within only a week's time.


This trafficker was actively trying to target the social media profiles of females and was trying to encourage them to leave their homes and come with him to work for him. Regardless if those profiles were all adults or even some were young children! 


The internet also offers areas where websites allow for sex trafficking to be advertised. Individuals can post advertisements, include the services offered, include an image and contact information of the victim...and buyers can then contact these ads.  Further facilitating sex trafficking!  With no regard for whether or not the individual they're contacting is an adult or a juvenile!


And finally, point 6. What I mean, when I say the power of awareness is something we can all do to fight sex trafficking.


What it means to me, is that people's mindset is changing.  I believe and have witnessed this occur over the years as I have investigated thousands of sex trafficking cases. For example, at the beginning of my detective career, when the cases went before the prosecution office, I noticed there were minimal pleas offered to the suspects... Pleas for 5, 6, or 10 years at the most. Fast-forward to now, where we have prosecutors and judges and law enforcement in general, as well as others who know about sex trafficking.  They know or have a better idea of what a victim goes through that's involved in being manipulated by a trafficker, and are able to express this better to a jury by using expert witness testimony.


I have witnessed juries convict on all, if not all most of the charges being brought to them and I have seen judges issue sentences for hundreds of years!   This is important for the general public to realize! 


We are making changes and what you can do to help is to make others more aware... Share this blog.


I have created an online course that helps you better understand what I'm saying in this blog about traffickers.  Enter your information on my homepage and I'll put you on the waitlist and add you to the list for any future upcoming courses. Thank you so much for your interest in fighting the sex trafficking problem by getting a better understanding. 


Share information about sex trafficking and participate in doing something to combat this ever-growing problem and really help victims get the justice they deserve!


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