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How does pornography play a role in trafficking?

Viewing pornography may be a solo act; however, the production of the material and the social and relational consequences of the behaviors extends far
past the individual. Children and adults endure brutal rape and abuse at the hands of the pornographers and may require years of specialized therapy
to heal from the intense trauma inflicted on them. The effects of pornography can skew the viewer’s perception of healthy sexual behavior and boundaries,
impacting the viewer’s personal relationship with a spouse or significant other. Trafficked women and children may face an increased risk of violence
or degradation due to the normalization of deviant sex acts propagated through pornography. [Shared Hope International]

What are the signs of a possible trafficker?

  • Easily jealous
  • Seems controlling or exhibits violence
  • Is significantly older than the person they are with
  • Promises things that seem too good to be true
  • Encourages engagement in illegal activities to achieve goals/dreams
  • Suggests that the know how to help make a lot of money quickly
  • Buys expensive gifts or likes to flash their money
  • Is vague about his/her profession and you can’t prove what they really do
  • Gets pushy or demanding about sex
  • Wants to take suggestive photos, encourages modeling or dancing for money
  • Makes you feel responsible for his/her financial stability.

What signs are there that a person might be a victim of trafficking?

*Please note that the following indicators should be considered together and even if more than one applies to someone you know, it does not confirm that they are being trafficked. However, if you have any concerns or suspicions about a possible human trafficking case you should report it! Call 911 and the national human trafficking hotline number 1-888-3737-888.


  • Own a limited amount of clothing, a lot of which could be described as ‘sex clothes’ or are not dressed appropriate to the climate
  • Unable to travel freely or without permission or may be escorted wherever they go
  • Cannot display any identification
  • Have little money to no money in their possession as it is collected by another person
  • Display signs of substance abuse or bruising
  • Move from city to city frequently or cannot name the place they are staying at
  • Use a ‘street’ name rather than their own
  • Hang out with older men or a secretive about their relationships
  • Say they are older than they appear to be
  • Wear excessive make-up
  • Display mood swings, fear, anxiety, anger, depression or distrust
  • Have clothing or material possessions beyond their means to buy
  • Have tattoos or other forms of branding on their body indicating ownership by a pimp
  • There are are frequent or extensive gaps in their education

Who are the Traffickers?

  • A trafficker is anyone who exploits another human being for their personal gain. It could be a pimp, gang, family member, or ‘friend’.
  • Often seen in South Carolina are ‘Romeo Pimps’. These traffickers will pose as a loyal ‘boyfriend’ and will lure victims into an emotional attachment with them and then use that connection to exploit their bodies.

Who is at risk for becoming victims?

  • While anyone can be a victim, traffickers generally seek out the vulnerable; those with low self-esteem, previous abuse or neglect, those from the foster care system, homelessness, poverty, or those who identify as LGBT.
  • A victim can be male or female and come from any race or socio-economic status. The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12-14, however both younger and older are also at risk.

Why doesn’t a victim leave trafficking when they appear to have the opportunity?

  • Traffickers are very good at keeping their victims in bondage physically, emotionally, and psychologically. They monitor their victim’s movements and
    are quick to use violence against them or threats against their loved ones. Traffickers are also masters at manipulating their victims to create
    trauma bonds with them. This strong fear and emotional confusion helps to ensure submission.
  • Victims also often lose their identity and struggle with shame and guilt. Even if they could leave, how can they return to the life they had? Who can
    they trust? Who would accept them? What can they do to survive?

How does it work?

  • A trafficker builds a market out of the principle of supply and demand. They acquire victims according to their ‘buyers’ tastes in order to maximize
  • While at times a trafficker might use force to take a victim, more often they will play on their victim’s emotional desires and vulnerabilities in
    order to establish a relationship with them. This process is called grooming and may occur over a lengthy period of time.
  • Traffickers may then use isolation, fear, violence, drug addictions, and lies to control their victim, ensuring that they will never leave them.


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