| |

How Do Human Traffickers Lure Their Victims?

Depressed teem girl looking out the window in silence.

Frequent readers of our blog articles might find some repetition when it comes to dispelling the rumors about human trafficking, and especially how human traffickers get their victims. However, separating fact from fiction is a priority when it comes to spreading about human trafficking, and a major goal of these articles is not only to make the public more aware of the problem at hand but also to help the public understand how to identify potential victims and how to identify human traffickers.

Repetition works in all sorts of ways. For instance, as long as movies continue to depict human trafficking scenarios as violent abductions of young people who are thenhidden in isolated warehouses and traded overseas, organizations fighting the real problem will continue to dispel this notion. Human trafficking happens all over the world, in public places and busy communities, consider the following breakdown of how human traffickers lure their victims and the tricks that human traffickers use.

How Does Human Trafficking Happen?

Repetition is the name of the game because it has been known to work. Repetition is used in tactics and procedure while preying on a potential victim. This is how human traffickers operate. They are versed and practiced. There is not a by-the-numbers guide for human traffickers to get their victims, but statistics have shed light on recurring themes and motivations when it comes to tricks human traffickers use.

For instance, human traffickers play the long game. Again, the notion of a bag being placed over someone’s head and being thrown into a vehicle is not based on sound facts and statistics. Human traffickers are hunters who watch and learn and make their moves slowly. They don’t want to attract attention, so they stay in the shadows as long as possible. They likely use fake names or meet in private (when they finally meet).

Human traffickers get to know their potential victims before they strike. They look for common factors, such as substance dependency issues or unfortunate financial problems that leave the potential victim with no other outlet to turn to. They look for people who feel lost or lonely, who feel like outcasts. This is how they target their victims, and this is common enough (when it comes to human trafficking victims) that it can be considerd repetition on the part of human traffickers: a repetition that the public needs to be aware of.

Woman verbally attacked at table.

Tactics (or Tricks) Human Traffickers Use

Just as it is commonly understood what type of person a human trafficker targets, it is also commonly understood what type of tricks human traffickers use. This isn’t to say it is easy to stop them or spot them in the act, as there is a great deal of manipulation and coercion going on with the potential victim. But again, repetition reveals itself time and time again, and there are ways to identify human traffickers.

As mentioned, human traffickers play the long game. Once they have found a target, they make themselves available to “fill that gap” in the potential victim’s life. If a person has substance dependency issues, a human trafficker might offer them a fix, or a sip, or enable a bet (or whatever the dependency issue might be related to). If a person is lonely, then a human trafficker might appear as a friend, offering an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on.

Human traffickers offer the appearance of trust. And then they offer to help or open a door to an opportunity which turns out never to be what was promised. A common scenario is when a person (usually a man) becomes romantically involved with another (a woman), and this romantic relationship is based on seduction, manipulation, and ultimately abuse (physical or psychological). The female victim isgroomed until finally blackmailed (or violently forced) into prostitution or other sexual exploitation. In this instance, the man appeared first as friend, then as lover, and by the time the woman realized what was happening, it would be too late. She was taken advantage of by a “pimp,” manipulated through fear.

Another common scenario is when a person who is going through some form of financial difficulty is offered a job by a person appearing (again) as a friend or sometimes entrepreneur. In some instances, the human trafficking victim might not speak the local language very well and might not understand the situation. This can lead to an “employer” holding onto their “paychecks” or holding onto their passport and other legal documentation.

There Is More Awareness, but Also More Avenues of Threats

The world is becoming more aware of human trafficking and more understanding of the tricks human traffickers use and even how to identify human traffickers. And as technologies continue to evolve, organizations fighting human trafficking have more at hand. But human traffickers are learning as well and have more outlets for manipulation. A major example: .

There are many stories about people being stalked or preyed on through social media, but much of the public tends to think of “bullying” or “fake news” as opposed to human trafficking. Through social media, not only can a stranger gain the trust of another and play their way into someone’s life, but they can also research a potential victim almost entirely. They can learn their habits, their friend circles, their likes and dislikes, and in many instances their emotional state.

If someone is lonely, afraid, or crying out for help, a human trafficker might be the one to answer the call. It is a scary scenario, but it is a reality. Human traffickers lure their victims through any means necessary, and they have to be stopped.

Young woman nervously listening to her phone

Join the Fight Today to End Human Trafficking

Spreading awareness about human trafficking and human traffickers is a big part of the fight, but it is not going to get the job done on its own. Donations to organizations like DeliverFund, which fights to put an end to this criminal behavior and provide safety and support for human trafficking victims, are what allows them to continue to operate. As mentioned, traffickers play the long game, and organizations who are fighting against them can’t afford to take a break. The fight goes on.

Join the fight today to end human trafficking once and for all.



This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original location.


PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials is being used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to a potential victim. Their online human trafficking course is available for use on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.