Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a form of undue influence and a serious global issue affecting an estimated 21 – 27 million worldwide. According to the Defense Department, “Human trafficking is a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex. It affects all populations: adults, children, men, women, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, and all economic classes.”

Pimps and traffickers control the environment, access to information, relationships – every aspect of a person’s life – using techniques that manipulate how a person thinks, feels and acts. Using the lens of undue influence, activists, social workers, law enforcement, and mental health professionals can better learn how pimps and traffickers recruit, how to spot current victims, how to ethically intervene in a trafficking case, and how to help trafficking survivors recover from their experience.

Sex trafficking refers to when a person is coerced, deceived, pressured, or forced into prostitution. Often those targeted are vulnerable and come from a history of abuse or are runaways. The pimp or trafficker wants someone who will align with their rules: someone that can be viewed as an asset, not a liability. They look for easy ways to break a person, seeking nothing less than to create a dependent, willing, and obedient slave. With their minds controlled in such a way, the victim may appear to be an active participant in their suffering for the profit of the pimp. However, mind control does not erase the person’s old identity; it creates a new obedient one to suppress the original self.

Labor trafficking is another form of trafficking, further split into bonded labor, forced labor, and child labor. Forced labor, or involuntary servitude, is work or services provided under the threat of violence or punishment. It is one of the most common types of labor and often associated with slavery. Bonded labor is when an individual is paying off a debt or a loan through their work. Child labor is using children as cheap or free labor in factories, workshops, and other places.

Ending The Game

Since January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, I wish to mention a curriculum I helped to co-develop with Rachel Thomas, Carissa Phelps, and D’lita Miller. I wrote about Rachel Thomas’ story in the latest edition of Combating Cult Mind Control in Chapter Six. Rachel came to an ICSA conference and we did the first-panel talk discussing trafficking as a commercial cult phenomenon. (The video of the talk is here.) On the panel, we had other incredible people including Christine Marie Katas, MBA, Ph.D. student, survivor/mentor, founder of; Christina Arnold, Founder/Board President (2nd oldest anti-trafficking organization in the U.S.) born into the Children of God cult and escaped at age 20; Kim Meyer, PCC-S, LICDC-CS, Former director of services at Beechbrook, raised in Worldwide Church of God cult (a video of an interview with Kim and Bill Meyer is here); Halleh Seddighzadeh, Ph.D, JDc, Forensic Traumatologist director of, comment by Stephanie Spanos, MD, child psychiatrist.

On our YouTube channel, we have a playlist of other interviews and programs I have done on human trafficking.

Ending The Game is a ground-breaking “coercion resiliency” curriculum that reduces feelings of attachment to traffickers and a lifestyle characterized by commercial sexual exploitation, thereby reducing the rate of recidivism among sex trafficking victims.

The curriculum is designed to educate and empower commercial sex trafficking victims by providing a framework to uncover harmful psychological coercion (aka “The Game”) that victims have been subjected to with their trafficking experience. By revealing a sequence of commonly-used, yet seldom-explained, mind control techniques used by traffickers, sexual abusers, media and other coercive agents, we aim to empower victims to acquire skills and end “The Game.”

Bring Ending The Game, the first National Sex Trafficking Intervention Curriculum to your organization! Click here to find out how you can bring the curriculum to your organization as well as understand the different options available.

ETG Curriculum Kits are now available: Click here to go to the ETG shop.

Download Ending the Game 1 Page Info Sheet

Free Training Video on Coercion, Identity Disturbance, and Recidivism

This is a preview of an advanced educational training video on psychological coercion in commercial sexual exploitation. This video is intended for professionals, students, families of survivors and all service providers seeking a better understanding of coercion, Identity Disturbance, recidivism, commercial sexual exploitation, and human sex trafficking.

To access the full 45-minute video:

National Human Trafficking Hotline

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