When the average person envisions a human trafficking scenario, they think of someone being forcibly taken into a white van by a stranger. In actuality, this happens far less often than most people believe.
Many cases of human traffickers involve predators building rapport with their targets. This can happen gradually and over time before the abuse and trafficking begin.
In numerous circumstances, traffickers aim to cut off their targets from other people in their lives. This later allows traffickers to maximize the leverage and control they have.
Unfortunately, many cases of human trafficking happen not just at the hands of strangers, but also friends, romantic partners, and even family members.
A run-down of common human trafficking scenarios
According to Family and Children’s Association (FCA) president Jeffrey Reynolds, breaking down misconceptions about human trafficking is pivotal. This can help keep communities safer and equip people with the right knowledge and information.
FCA grants director Keith Scott directed some additional attention toward this matter as well. According to Scott, trafficking entails mental manipulation and coercion. In the cases of children who suffer trafficking, they’re slightly more likely than adults to be trafficked by a relative.
Kids undergoing human trafficking may exhibit some warning signs that not everyone knows to look out for. These warning signs include:
- Presenting fake IDs
- Using social media to post graphically sexual content
- Not being honest about their age
- Having physical injuries that they can’t explain
Other cases of human trafficking can involve luring targets with false job ads. In these scenarios, it’s not uncommon for the following red flags to emerge:
- Job listing overpromises or otherwise appears too good to be true
- Interview location listed as at a home, abandoned location, run-down/shady area, etc.
- Company is hard to find/research online
Periodically, people who find themselves desperate for a job or low on funds may overlook red flags. Perpetrators of human trafficking can also be those who refer someone to a job the perpetrator knows is not legitimate.
Baseline details to know about human trafficking
In the overwhelming majority of circumstances, human traffickers look to gain the trust of their targets before moving to sell them for profit.
In cases of women and girls being trafficked by romantic partners, this is a common example of the predatory “Romeo pimp” or “Loverboy.”
Like romantic partners with ill intentions, human traffickers who are relatives or pose as friends are likewise reliant upon building trust with their targets, at least in the beginning.
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If your gut/instincts/intuition tells you something is off, you should listen and remove yourself from the person or situation as quickly as possible.
Anyone who wishes to report what they believe to be human trafficking can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline via phone at 1 (888) 373-7888 or by text at 233733.