Childproof America - Safeguarding Families Against Sex Trafficking

Traffickers' 6 Step Recruiting Process

"This 6 STEP PROCESS being used on our urban and suburban students to
RECRUIT them into prostitution and trafficking is well thought out and EFFECTIVE! "
-John Clark (Author of 6 Step Recruiting Process & father of a victim)
  1. Step
    PURPOSE IS TO ESTABLISH TRUST: Pimps and Recruiters are in our schools and churches! This step starts with identifying a target. The targets who are most at risk are girls with low self-esteem or girls who are struggling with school work, friends or family. After a target is identified things proceed in a way that seems innocent and remains that way for many weeks or months. The ‘friend’ that starts this process is not always a guy. At this point, a pimp may not be directly involved. The friend will be someone completely non-threatening. It is often a girl (a few years older). Its very likely that this girl is a previous victim who became a recruiter or "groomer" as a means to escape being trafficked. The new friend takes your daughter/son places, she is fun, she has a lot of advice, and gives the impression that she is sort of a mentor. They usually receive some type of support (money, drugs, etc.) that helps them recruit effectively. PARENTS: It is hard to recognize this step, but there are things you can monitor. Look for new friends and be inquisitive about their parents, background, living arrangements, etc. If they are a new friend...find out who have they been hanging out with before your child. Dig into the new friend's, circle of friends, by talking to other parents or the school. Go through pictures on your child's phone, look for new hangouts or hobbies. Changes that the new friend introduces, should raise questions and investigation.
  2. Step
    PURPOSE IS TO INTRODUCE A SOURCE (OR INCREASE THE LEVEL) OF FRICTION IN THE RELATIONSHIPS AT HOME: They make sure your child has "fun" and feels a sense of independence. The friend introduces drugs and /or alcohol. If the targeted teen has already experimented, the groomer will increase the frequency of use and ease of access. They will make them feel as if "everyone is doing it" (at least all the cool people) and they are awkward if they don't. PARENTS: Many kids experiment during this time of their life. If you see or suspect any drug or alcohol use deal with it early. Find out whether it was experimenting with good friends they have had for a while, or whether it is the result someone new on the scene. If is it someone new, I would be more concerned about a possible trafficking connection.
  3. Step
    PURPOSE IS TO DRIVE A WEDGE BETWEEN THE TEEN AND THE FAMILY: They want to turn them against you. The groomer will be very polite in front of parents, but when alone the groomer is constantly berating parents. “Your mom is such a b*&%#…... She treats you like a child.” “Your father grounded you for that? He never lets you do anything.” “I bet you can’t wait to get out of that house.” Every teenager goes through a time when they feel as though you are strict unreasonable. The groomer validates your child's thoughts and thus creates more trust with them and less with you. It is usually at this point that a consistent theme/message, "Let me know if you ever need a place to stay", begins to appear. PARENTS: My advice is...try not to fight about source (new friends) of the friction. Try to use firm reasoning and love as the basis for all discipline. Engaging in a fight or simply putting your foot down (i.e. "I am your father/mother, and you will do as I say!") actually works to the advantage of the recruiters trying to drive a wedge between you and your child.
  4. Step
    PURPOSE IS TO SEPARATE THEM FROM OLD FRIENDS WHO SHARE THEIR CORE VALUES: They are separated from old friends and introduced to new "friends" who are "more fun". The new friends understand the teen. They accept them and support them. They stop hanging out with their old friends and even their very best childhood friend. You may run into their best friend's parents who say they haven't seen your child lately. Then you may realize your child was supposed to have recently spent the night at their home. You realize the person who has been your child's best friend for the past multiple years, isn't around anymore. This should REALLY alarm you! PARENTS: Once the traffickers take the victim through step 4 your child is in REAL and IMMEDIATE DANGER! Consider intervention, residential counseling away from their "friends". Think about moving the child away to live with a relative in another state, or moving the whole family. It sounds drastic but it is logical!
  5. Step
    PURPOSE IS TO DISORIENT THE VICTIM'S MORAL COMPASS: They convince them that they can have a "better" life. They tell them that things parents warned them, about are simply because parents don't understand their generation. The groomer knows this really cool guy. He is an up and coming rapper. Sometimes he works as a DJ at some of the coolest clubs in town. He is fun, has money, and is always on his way to a party. After a friendship develops he offers to get your teen into a club even though she is underage. He is working a private party and can put her on the guest list. That happens a time or two. The teen gets to sneak a few drinks at the club and hang out with a group of people who are four or five years older. The people at the club fawn over the teen and make her feel very special. The new group of friends reinforce the same idea the groomer started. “Your parents are the worst. If you ever need a place to stay just give me a call.” There is a guy that your child met a couple months ago who is friendly and nice. It turns out he not only smokes pot, but he deals a little on the side. That cool girl they met who is so pretty and funny. She has her own apartment and seems to have money. Another new friendship is developing. Then it is revealed that the cool girl is a dancer. She dances in videos and makes appearances at clubs with the rapper and gets paid for it. "Can you believe that?" "Life is so easy when you are pretty and cool." "Who needs college or parents?" PARENTS: When things have reached this point it is difficult to turn around but not impossible. Be looking for signs that your child is exposed to or participating in activities that are normally forbidden. If you haven't already attempted intervention with a survivor or support organization, or if you haven't removed the teen from the environment, you are running out of time...DO IT NOW!!!
  6. Step
    PURPOSE IS TO TAKE YOUR CHILD AWAY FROM YOU THROUGH BRAINWASHING, COERCION, KIDNAPPING, OR A COMBINATION OF THE THREE: And then...they take your daughter or son and make $ on them. ONLY 1 to 2% ARE RESCUED AFTER THIS STEP!!! They take advantage of the right opportunity when it presents itself. It could be the teen getting into trouble or fighting with the parents. Or it could be an offer to take a ride with the rapper right after their 18th birthday. It happens with younger teens too, but a girl who just turned 18 is a real target. Your daughter goes to a party and disappears. If she is 18, law enforcement is handcuffed. Unless there is clear evidence of a crime, she is just another young adult who decided to leave home. If the people who led her away can keep for three weeks, the chances that you will ever see your daughter again, decrease significantly! PARENTS: Know your options for recovery and support. Come up with an action plan to execute if your child disappears. Introduce yourself to the people and organizations you will need. Establish a code word that your child can use if they want out. They won't want to hear it now, but they might remember it when they need it.