How Sex Traffickers Lure Vulnerable Teens Into Their World


Rose, a 15-year old girl in Doylestown, Pa., near Philadelphia, was lonely. She logged on to the social networking site Myspace, sharing secrets with an older man about her troubled and abusive home life, says the Doylestown (Pa.) Intelligencer. He told her what she wanted to hear: that he’d take care of her. He bought her a Chanel purse, spent hundreds of dollars on meals for her and treated her to manicures and pedicures. He made her feel pretty, wanted. Rose left home and moved in with him. Soon, they moved out of the area where she had been raised. And then he began asking for “favors.” The trafficker used two common tactics to victimize Rose: He made her feel obliged to him; and then he moved her away from her family and friends, isolating her.

At first, the “favors” took the form of sex with a few men so she could “earn” money for basic necessities such as food and shelter. Then came another man, and another. The trafficker took pictures of Rose and posted them on Instagram to connect with more men. “When she protested, the beatings began,” said Jessie Alfaro of Vision East, a group that works to help victims of human trafficking. The first time she resisted, the man she called her “boyfriend” broke her nose. Rose’s account is a typical trafficking story, Alfaro said. “You see this time and time again,” she said. “There is sexual abuse at home, they run away and they think they are being rescued. But they are going from one hell to the next.”

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