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What Parents Need to Know about Human Trafficking

Online Grooming

  • Is how a sex trafficker establishes relationships with children and lures them into sexual exploitation or sex trafficking.

  • Traffickers offer false promises, attention, affection, adventures, gifts and later may control victims through dependency, threats and / or force.

  • The trafficker drives a wedge between children and their parents, guardians, and friends; they create a climate of fear and attachment (trauma bonding) that makes escape seem impossible.



  • Assessing the right person

  • Testing their vulnerabilities and boundaries

  • Determine whether that person is looking for what they are selling

  • Testing the waters to see if that person is open to engage in courting

  • Collecting as much information as possible about them

Grooming and Gaming

  • Making them feel special

  • She feels like she is in love

  • She has found her dream man who will make her dreams come true

  • He promises her a family, home, etc.

  • He makes her feel like a princess

  • They may engage in physical intimacy

  • He continues collecting personal information about her dreams and hopes, family, what she loves and cares about the most.

  • He may introduce her to illicit drugs under the guise of loosening her up, having fun



Coercion and Manipulation

  • He starts sending her mixed messages

  • He confuses her by withdrawing

  • Uses information gained against her

  • Reduces information and compliments

  • Toys with her emotions and behaves erratically to cause her to question how he feels about her

  • She tries to please him in any way she can to get back in his good books and have him love her

  • He begins asking her to do things sexually that she may be uncomfortable with desensitizing her to these actions

  • Has sex with her then does something for her (take her shopping, give her money, etc) to make sex have a price

  • Draws on her drug addiction (if relevant) to make her have sex for drugs or money, make her feel indebted to him



  • He has broken down her self-esteem

  • Threatens her and her loved ones based on information collected previously

  • Makes her feel indebted to him

  • Suggests that she owes him financially

  • Leads her to think that she needs help financially

  • She is at the point where she feels obligated to contribute in some way

  • Emotional, mental, and physical abuse-intimidation and control

  • Confinement and isolation from family, friends, etc

What are some Red Flags to Watch For?

  1. Always on their phone and refuses to take breaks

  2. Sleeps with their phone

  3. Not coming home at night

  4. Coming home in different clothes than when they left

  5. Wearing clothing you did not buy them

  6. Sudden change in fashion (more provocative)

  7. Sudden negative change in grades


How to Keep your Children Safe Online

Talk to your children about internet safety and create agreements with your child that covers the following points:

1. Allowing you to be friends with them on their social media sites,

2. Accepting friend requests only from people they have met in person,

3. Having them tell you if someone suggests that they send sexy or provocative photos or if someone offers them a job or travel opportunity,

4. Talking to you if they receive sexual images or other inappropriate links from another person,

5. Ensuring your child is setting their photos to the highest level of internet security so that strangers cannot download their images.


Be present and available for your kids... 

Let your kids know that you care. Tell them you love them. Show them you love them. Meet their needs as best you can, and if you can’t, then at least let them know you are trying!

Make a "Human Trafficking" talk a mandatory talk to have with your kids, like the “Sex Talk” or the “Drug Talk”.



For more information and direct support call Sudbury and Area Victim Services at 705-522-6970

Click here for information about reporting Human Trafficking

Image of a man whose face is hidden in shadow, wearing a hood, sitting in front of a lap top.
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