Thursday, 03 September 2015 17:00


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Many people believe that sex trafficking –a crime where men, women, and children are forced into prostitution against their will - is not something that they need to worry about here in the United States.  Unfortunately, they are wrong.  

Every year in the U.S. it is estimated that over 100,000 children alone are brought into sex trafficking[i].  Perhaps even more upsetting is a figure released by the Department of Justice: the average age of a child forced into prostitution is only 13 and is forced to have sex 48 times a day[ii].  Although much is being done by the government to address this issue, it sadly remains part of our society.  It’s important to be aware of the ways and risk factors of being brought into sex trafficking so that you can more easily identify and avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Children at risk are not just high school students.  They can be as young as nine years of age.  Many times the children are at risk due to family situations.  The children are targeted thru social media websites, telephone chat-lines, bus depots, shopping malls, after school programs and through friends who recruit students on school campuses[iii].

Warning Signs

A person who is being trafficked may show some of these physical signs of being trafficked. They are nervous around others, paranoid and may avoid eye contact with you. The person may have poor health showing signs of malnutrition, or lack of health care[iv].  They may also show signs of physical and/or sexual abuse. 

There are many other warning signs that a person may be a victim of sex trafficking. A victim may be unable to give a consistent story or have access to identification. They may not know where they are, or their address. A person being trafficked may not be allowed to come and go freely, or they are always being watched.  The place they work or live may have boarded up windows, bars over the windows and doors, or security cameras around[v]. Sometimes a trafficked person may have multiple cell phones yet have very few personal belongings or money[vi].

Different Types of Pimps ii,[vii]

Although kidnapping does occur, it is rare.  Far more frequently pimps are able to lure their victims through false promise into the trade.  There are four common types of pimps, or ways in which they lure their victims.

·       Romeo – This type of pimp is often described as the “boyfriend”.  He will give his victims expensive gifts and shows them affection, making them feel loved and cared for.  Often after making the victim feel that she is in a relationship with him, the pimp will request that the victim go on a trip with him or do a “small favor.” What starts out as a one favor or a getaway trip turns into prostitution.

·       Daddy –This pimp takes on the role of a “father” figure and makes the victim feel cared for and protected.  This pimp expects to be obeyed or will “discipline” his victims to keep them under control.

For many, the craving to feel wanted overpowers them into doing whatever their Romeo or Daddy asks of them. 

·       Gorilla – This pimp constantly threatens violence against the victim or their family if they do not do as they are told.  Some of a gorilla pimp’s tactics are used by all of the other types of pimps if the victim puts up resistance to doing as they are told however, gorilla pimps are consistently more violent.

·       CEO – A CEO pimp offers money and wealth to lure victims. 

Victims of human trafficking come from many walks of life.  They may be minors, adults, men and women.  They may come from any race, religion, educational or economical background.  Victims can be from poor to very wealthy families.  They can also be from documented, refugees, and undocumented populations. In other words, anyone can be a victim of human trafficking.


If you or anyone you know is a victim of sex trafficking use the resources below. 

·       National Human Resources Trafficking Center

o   Hotline (answered live 24/7): 1-888-373-7888


·       Department of Homeland Security


If you are in immediate danger please contact 911.

If you are interested in helping to gain public awareness about sex trafficking visit:



[i] Family Issue Fact Sheet: HB 2454 – HUMAN TRAFFICKING; PROSTITUTION." (2014): n. pag. Center For Arizona Policy, Feb. 2014. Web. 8 June 2015. <>.

[ii] Silva, Gina. "The Youngest Victims: Sex Trafficking & The Different Types Of Pimps." Fox 10, 20 Oct. 2014. Web. 08 June 2015. <>.

[iii] U. S. Dept. of Education

[iv] (

[v] Trafficking .org (

[vi] (

[vii] Lured Off the Streets, a Look at How Young Women Become Sex Trafficking Victims." ABC News. ABC News Network, 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 08 June 2015. <>.

Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence