5 Common Trafficking Recruitment Methods

1. Personal Social Networks

Personal social networks and relationships are a powerful recruitment tool. Traffickers commonly recruit friends of family members, friends of other girls they have trafficked, and others in their neighborhood. Sometimes, they will throw “turnout parties” within their social network to recruit. They recruit in many places such as malls, transit stations, beaches, gas stations, campuses, clubs, and restaurants. Schools, malls, and transit locations in particular are associated with minors. Young traffickers who are often gang-involved traffickers use their networks in their school and in their community, often recruiting their classmates.

2. Romantic Relationships

Many traffickers engage in romantic or physical relationships with the recruits to appeal to their victims’ emotional and economic needs. They use a sort of bait and switch tactic, building a relationship with the victim, then asking the victim to engage in commercial sex to help the two of them accomplish their dreams of being together.

3. Online ads

Ads for recruitment often pose as a legitimate employment opportunity, calling for “models” and presenting the opportunity for a photo shoot. Traffickers also search existing online advertisements on sites like Craigslist and Backpage for women and girls who might be working independently.

4. The Lure of Wealth

 Former traffickers said that pointing out to victims that they were “already doing it for free” was particularly influential with those who were economically disadvantaged. The traffickers offer the victim economic security. For traffickers, prominently displaying their wealth was key to recruiting with many citing their outward displays of wealth as a primary means of attraction for victims.

5. Current Victims

Girls already involved with the trafficker are often made to help with recruiting, especially from train stations, bus stops, bus stations, clubs, detention facilities, group homes, continuation schools, homeless shelters, and from social media. These girls are typically called “bottoms”. Although the bottom is both a victim and an offender, law enforcement takes the position that if the person is actively involved in recruitment, they will be charged with trafficking.

Full list of sources at pact.city/facts