Human traffickers look for people who are psychologically susceptible, emotionally vulnerable or are facing economic hardship. Victims can come from different socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Perpetrators lure the innocent into human trafficking through manipulation such as:
- Showering them with attention
- Making false promises
- Giving them gifts and money
- Faking romantic relationships
Pimps keep their victims under control through force, coercion, violence, rape and in some cases, threats to harm the victim’s family. The trauma caused by traffickers, (called a trauma-bond) can be so strong that many do not identify themselves as a victim of human trafficking. The control a pimp has over the victim and the victim’s fear of retribution typically cause the victim to feel powerless and trapped, resulting in a reluctance to ask for help, even when in public. In many cases, human trafficking is a hidden crime.