Knowledge Vault Resource: Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel
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Human Trafficking: Power and Control Wheel

There are some resources you keep running into that are just mind-blowing. This is one of them. I looked for a written out description of the wheel and never found it. So I transcribed it. 

May you get wiser from this tool. It changed how I see things. 

Knowledge Vault Resource: Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel

Easily copy and paste this text.

Sex trafficking

  • Street / online prostitution
  • Residential / commercial-front brothels
  • Truck stops

Labor trafficking

  • Businesses
  • Farms
  • Domestic work
  • Begging / peddling
  • Stripping

Harms other victims, children or pets
Displays or uses weapons
Destroys property
Lies about police involvement in trafficking situation

Humiliates in front of others
Calls names
Plays mind games
Makes victim feel guilt / blame for situation
Convinces victim they’re the only one that cares about them

Keeps confined
Accompanies to public places
Creates distrust of police / others
Moves victims to different locations
Doesn’t allow victim to learn English or to go to school
Denies access to children, family and friends

Makes light of abuse or exploitation
Denies that anything illegal or exploitative is occurring
Places blame on the victim for the trafficking situation

Uses sexual assault as punishment or as means of control
Forces victim to have sex multiple times a day with strangers
Treats victim as an object for monetary gain
Normalizes sexual violence and selling sex

Shoves, slaps, hits, punches, kicks, strangles
Burns, brands, tattoos
Denies food / water
Exposes to harmful chemicals
Forces pregnancy termination
Induces drug addiction as means of control

Treats victim like a servant
Uses gender, age or nationality to suggest superiority
Uses certain victims to control others
Hides or destroys important documents

Creates debt that can never be repaid
Takes money earned
Prohibits access to finances
Limits resources to a small allowance

Threatens to harm victim or family
Threatens to expose or shame victim
Threatens to report to police or immigration

This wheel was adapted from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project’s Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel, available at
Polaris Project | P.O. Box 53315, Washington, DC 20009 | Tel: 202.745.1001 | | [email protected]
© Copyright Polaris Project, 2010. All Rights Reserved.
This publication was made possible in part through Grant Number 90XR0012/02 from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Office of Refugee Resettlement, or HHS.

You might also want to learn more about DOMESTIC ABUSE, as the power dynamics are so similar.

Here’s a great resource called Dynamics of Domestic Violence from the State of Delaware – Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

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