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We asked a former sex trafficker a series of questions. His answers are direct and remove any doubt about the nature of the relationship between a trafficker and their victim.

Where do you find potential victims?

I approach teens online and/or in person at shopping malls, metro stations, bus stops, and other public locations.

What do you look for in potential victims?

I look for teens that seem to have low self-esteem and who seem to have a lot of unsupervised time.

How can you tell that they have a low self-esteem?

I walk up to a girl in the mall or metro stations, “I noticed you from a distance and you are one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen.” Now if she drops her head and looks down at her shoes with her eyes down, I know I’ve got her. Because I can see she’s not used to hearing compliments. I am very direct with them and look for facial reaction, posture, and body language.

How can you tell that they have low self esteem online?

Online I look for teens who post they hate their parents or that just got dumped by a boyfriend who seem emotionally isolated from family and friends. Even if she is normally happy with a support structure…I just need to catch her at that moment when she is vulnerable.

How do you get your targets to trust you?

I build their self-esteem through compliments and listening to them. I act as if we’re dating and say “I love you.” I give her money, gifts, alcohol, and drugs to get her hooked on our relationship.

Do you love the girls who work for you?

No. No. No. They’re a dollar sign, a product…just merchandise. They don’t have a name and aren’t a person to me. I don’t give a damn about them…just about what I can get out of them

What happens when you get the teen to a party?

I give her alcohol and drugs but I don’t ask her to do anything. Then, maybe the third time, I get her drunk and tell her she owes me and say it’s time to pay up… she has to have sex with guys for money.

Why don’t the girls say no?

Lots of the time the girl loves me so she does it to make me happy.  Sometimes she feels like she is part of our group and owes us.  Some of them do it cuz they can see that I will beat them if they don’t do it.

Why do the girls keep doing it?

Lots of them feel ashamed of what they have done and are afraid that their parents, and kids at school will find out.  Sometimes I film them having sex and say, “See, now I will show this to everyone if you tell anyone or if you try to stop.

Is it true that you use violence to control your victims?

Yeah, definitely. Sometimes I tell the girls that I will hurt their families if they tell anyone or try to stop.  I hit them and they can see the threat is serious.

 

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