There are many ways perpetrators recruit children. Researchers developed the child sexual grooming model to identify persuasion tactics, entrapment, and recruitment methods that traffickers commonly use.
1. Victim Selection
During this stage, the perpetrator identifies a child victim. Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable children, who may be struggling with low self-esteem and mental health disorders. Traffickers may also target single-parent households by playing the supportive and caring parent role.
2. Gaining Access and Isolation
In this stage, the perpetrator gains access to the child. Caregivers are usually comfortable with them being around and are individuals people least suspect. Some may even be close to the family. Traffickers target specific places where at-risk youth spend their time within the community.
3. Trust Development
Traffickers begin to develop trust with the children. They may be viewed as personable and loving. Some children have not been able to receive this attention from their own families, in which they create a special bond with the perpetrator. This individual may even provide them with their basic needs.
5. Post Abuse and Maintenance
This final stage ensures that the trafficker obtains control. This is done through emotional manipulation. At this point, the individual is dependent on the trafficker and may experience physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Constant manipulation is used to perpetuate exploitation.
4. Desensitization to Contact and Touch
During this stage, traffickers desensitize the individual to sexual content and physical touch. This is done through sharing pornography, telling inappropriate jokes, using explicit language, sharing past sexual experiences, and other forms of sex education. During this phase, the perpetrator may test the youth by engaging in sexual activities with them.
If you observe any concerning behaviors or encounter someone in need of assistance, please promptly report the situation.