Get to know the ways traffickers lure potential victims, and how we can spot it in our own communities.
We have all seen sensational photos of girls in chains, or seen movies like Taken, but how do people really get trafficked? Hint hint: abduction is often not the answer.
1. False Job Promises
Experience and data shows that false job promises are the most common form of luring victims into trafficking in South Africa. High unemployment drives this form of exploitation and traffickers prey on both men and women from rural areas and/or asylum seekers who may not have working rights or valid documentation due to the backlog since COVID. This is why employing survivors directly out of residential care is essential in taking the recovery process full circle. And why it is so important we demand workplaces vet their supply chain to ensure that is is slavery free. Stronger Together is doing great work in this area, especially in South Africa where the fruit and wine industry is rife with exploitation.
Traffickers prey on vulnerable individuals who often have a higher number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scores. This often manifest in substance abuse, unhealthy relationships and mental illness. Unfortunately, victims often know their abusers, sometimes it is even their parent, sibling, or extended family member. In 2017, IOM estimated that 41 percent of child trafficking experiences are facilitated by family members and/or caregivers.
3. Force/Threat of Violence
Traffickers may have some connection to the victims, and they use this power over them to threaten both their own and their families well being. For instance, if the victim tries to escape, the trafficker will threaten to kill their children, or will assault the victim to "show the others" what will happen if they try and leave.
4. The "Lover Boy Method"
Traffickers can spot vulnerabilities and use those to their advantage. Often times they will find a victim looking for love and acceptance and use that to lure them into a life of exploitation, saying things like "well if you really loved me you would _______" to manipulate them into prostitution (of which the traffickers keeps all the money). The trafficker may also buy the victims nice things and show affection as a way of showing their "love" and use this as a manipulation tactic.