Many people don’t fully understand what sex trafficking is, and with all the misconceptions about it, it can be very hard to identify victims and traffickers. There is no specific stereotype or trait to look for when it comes to trying to identify perpetrators or victims of these crimes. For instance, many don’t suspect women to be sex traffickers, when oftentimes a woman is the one running these teams of sex traffickers. Although there are no characteristics or physical traits to victims and perpetrators, there are a few things that you should look out for in case you spot a vulnerable victim and a trafficker that might take advantage of their vulnerability. Let’s take a look.
The majority of victims of sex trafficking are young girls that had previously fled violent or abusive situations. This can be anyone. Victims don’t necessarily have to be female, either, though the majority of them are. If someone looks vulnerable, they might be susceptible to traffickers and their abuse. Anyone can fall prey to sex trafficking, but most of the time, it will be someone who is defenseless and in a situation where they are left vulnerable. Traffickers will do their research on these people before approaching them. In order to identify whether or not a victim is being trafficked, you will want to look at those who are vulnerable because of mental or physical disability, homelessness, poverty, violence, and substance abuse. Traffickers will prey on anyone who hopes for a better life and has nowhere else to go. When it comes to the ages of these victims, pre-teen or adolescent girls are more susceptible to sex traffickers, but that does not mean that other ages or sexes are not as vulnerable. These pimps will often frequent schools, malls, parks, bus stops, and even group homes. If you see someone younger who shows signs of physical abuse, has unexplained absences, displays sexualized behavior, dresses inappropriately, is depressed, is distracted, wears expensive clothes, has a lot of money, is branded with a tattoo, has an older boyfriend, and constantly talks about parties, they might be a victim of sex trafficking.
These victims are targeted and picked up by traffickers who coerce them into performing sex acts in return for food and shelter. Some traffickers will recruit these victims by getting friendly with them at malls. According to evidence, traffickers will use drugs, force, or emotional and financial tactics in order to lure in and control their victims. They will often try to form strong bonds with these girls by claiming that they love or need them, saying that these sex acts will allow a good future with the trafficker. Some may even promise marriage as well as other emotional bonds that these young women have never felt in their lives in order to lure them in. Some traffickers will resort to physical and sexual abuse in order to keep these youths under their control. Others might use drugs or alcohol while taking all their forms of identity so that these victims have nowhere to go but them. Some victims manage to escape their captors only to come back because they don’t have anyone to go to. Traffickers will often prey on runaway or at-risk youth, and they are good at manipulating, deceiving, and controlling child victims.
This type of abuse doesn’t have to be as prominent as it is today. For more information regarding sex trafficking in Reno, get in touch with us today to learn more about how you can make a difference.