A common misconception catalysed by portrayals in mainstream media, is the image of a pimp. With modern technology and the instant gratification culture, pimps and traffickers have adapted and updated their methods of procuring not only clientele but also victims. Using dating sites to find victims, they’ve been dubbed ‘romeo pimps’ where they pose as the perfect partner on dating sites to attract victims and pull a classic bait and switch. Here’s a quick look at how people are trafficked, pimps use these four stages to execute:
- Searching for and luring in potential victims.
- In this stage the pimp will target young women who are in vulnerable positions and use their weaknesses against them to gain their trust, making them feel special and wanted.The pimp will slowly collect personal information about the victim such as living situations, family situations, who they trust and who is closest to them in their life, all to be used against them later on.
2. Creating a false sense of security.
- In this stage pimps will act like saviours, giving vulnerable young women what they need to make them feel like they’re being taken care of and loved. Pimps will even spend money on their victims to create the illusion that they’re a solid partner and that they can have a future together.
3. Coercion and manipulation.
- At this point the victim will most likely be very attached to the pimp and feel trusted, supported and comforted. This will then be used against them, pimps will start to behave unpredictably and only reward the victim with affection if they do what is asked of them. The pimp will most likely ask of the victim to perform uncomfortable things in bed and reward them with gifts, love and affection; all the while numbing them to these sexual acts and making them associate sex with payment (monetarily and emotionally).
- At this point the victim’s self esteem has been broken and they are susceptible to any form of emotional, psychological or physical manipulation. In case the victim attempts to get out they will be threatened to be exposed to family and friends. The victim will feel isolated from their life and feel as if this is the only way to provide for their family and self.
Katarina Macleod (21) was targeted during an incredibly vulnerable time in her life and was exploited by a woman pimp, who targeted her at a support group for women in abusive relationships. In an interview with CTV News Toronto, MacLeod revealed sentiments of how she felt: “She was a pimp and she offered me a better life and I thought if I could save money, I could escape the abuse I was in,” “It was not glamorous, it was horrible, and I felt degraded and I felt ashamed, but I really didn’t know what else to do.”**
It’s evident that identifying pimps is more about awareness of the trafficking industry and less about identifying a physical appearance. Awareness about human trafficking is detrimental to ending the victimisation of young innocent women worldwide. If you or someone you know has seen signs of trafficking don’t hesitate to contact this trafficking hotline: 1–833–900–1010. Abolishing trafficking doesn’t just take a few of us, or a lot of us. It takes all of us.