Category Archives: Grooming Process
Part I of the series: Understanding the Grooming Process: What do bright college students have to worry about?
Traffickers use many tactics to keep the victim under control. They use a spectrum of crimes to surround the victim in a climate of fear and distortion. The traffickers also use the judicial system to groom the environment to protect themselves. Many traffickers purposely get the victims arrested so as to empower themselves and further cause the victim to be isolated and dependent. All too often the judicial system is a willing participant.A common example is the labor contractor or pimp who uses the threat of law enforcement when their victims start complaining. The trafficker will call Immigration and Customs Enforcement and report the illegal immigrant who is then arrested and deported. Problem solved for the trafficker and money in the bank for the employer who does not want to be bothered by paying for labor. The pimp may actually want the victim to get arrested as then he will be her ‘savior’ as he bails her out of jail (with the money she earned). He will then use this to further make her feel responsible for “costing him money” both for the bail and for the time she was not producing. This also prepares her for later when they all get caught she will do the time for him and protect him as all costs. He has then groomed her and the environment around her to make sure he walks and she takes the full punishment.
In the book The Art of Seduction, author Robert Greene has analyzed seducers over the centuries. In his list of tactics of the seduction process he outlines many of the tactics used by traffickers on the victims.
A few examples are:
- Choose the right victims– the right victims are the ones you can fill a void- a completely contented person is almost impossible to seduce.
- Create a false sense of security– begin at an indirect approach, an angle. The victims may be introduced to the trafficker by a friend or trusted family member.
- Send Mixed Signals this will both fascinate and confuse. For traffickers this is a combination of being nice with abuse- of being attentive and tender with being aloof and cruel. This is the most powerful part of the coercion used on the victims.
- Isolate the victim– Isolating them makes them weak and vulnerable to the trafficker’s influence. For the trafficked victims the isolation of a foreign country, language, culture even food is one of the traffickers best tools. For US citizen victims the traffickers will drive a wedge between family and friends of the victim. They will create discord that was not really there. This will have the victim off-center and distrustful of the only people who could help her. Confused with no outside support they are easily led astray and controlled.
- Mix pleasure with pain. According to Greene, the greatest mistake in seduction is to be too nice. Inflicting some pain to make the victim feel guilty and insecure. Then a return to kindness will bring them to their knees. With victims of trafficking this cycle repeats over and over. In one interview a victim said he beat me with a wire stick (a pimp stick) “I was bruised and bleeding and I did deserve it because I had not made enough money for him. Then he gently brushed my hair from my face and wiped my tears. He really cared for me.”
Continued in part 3- What will happen to the target once “The Game” begins–
In the past 2 years, I have seen a sharp increase in the number of U.S. Citizen college students targeted
by human trafficking. I also hear from victims that sex traffickers are lurking around high school and
middle school campuses. After the many campus shootings and the other dangers parents warn their
children about before sending them away from home for the first time it is unlikely that most parents
are discussing the tactics of “romeo pimps” with the daughters who have achieved academic success.
I have worked with more and more families as the hopes and dreams for their daughters are crushed –
the parents have been blindsided by an evil they may never have known existed.
The tactics used are that the recruiter will find a target, he will then create some sort of friendship or
During this early grooming period he will learn all he can about the victim and she will tell him EVERYTHING. Her hopes, dreams, fears disappointments, every disagreement with her friends, parents teachers, etc.
While she believes he is listening to her out of affection, he is listening for ammunition to carry out his plan.
He will begin to introduce her to his shadowy life and it will appear alluring and a bit mystical- especially to a naïve academic who has spent most of her time preparing for college.
He will learn what she thinks about sex, religion, her parents, grandparents, her embarrassing moments and her highest achievements.
This he will then use to distance and isolate her from her life and into his.
To be continued-