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"You Are A Piece Of Property" – Helping Potential Victims Get Away & Stay Away From Child Sex Traffickers

A few days ago I strongly recommended that everybody watch “Tricked: Inside The World Of Teen Sex Trafficking,” a free documentary from the Fairfax County, VA Public Schools.

But since many people don’t necessarily want to watch a full-length video when they could read a blog instead, I thought I would share some notes from the presentation.

  1. To the trafficker, you (the victim) are “a piece of property,” nothing more. You’re not a person and they don’t care about you.
  2. A trafficker can tell in 30 seconds who their victims are: kids with low self esteem.
  3. It’s OK to just walk away. Say thank you, but no thank you. Be polite, but assertive – don’t fall for the idea that you have to engage with people who want to “date” you.
  4. Don’t go alone to parties after school. Don’t hang out with a group of guys alone. If a group of guys surrounds you, get away as fast as you can. They don’t just want to be your friend.
  5. “Sex for money, even just one time, really affects your brain.” No matter what they tell you, it’s never just once and it’s never something you can just forget, ignore and get over.
  6. You won’t get in trouble for asking for help. It’s not your fault if you were manipulated into doing something you shouldn’t. It is not your fault.
  7. It can start out benign, and then have an immediate turnaround – like two guys bringing a video camera into the room, and suddenly you’re gang raped on tape and they’re blackmailing you.
  8. You may be beaten and threatened. Tell anyway.
  9. Think about the motives of people who want to get close to you.
  10. Tell your parents.
  11. Drugs are how they overcome your conscience. They will “invest” in drugs to keep you going servicing “clients.”
  12. “The thrill has a downward hill.”
  13. You’re not strong enough to deal with it. 
  14. Online, it’s easy to make a fake profile. Check out who you’re dealing with – that girl could be a boy.
  15. Be careful about hanging out with older people, guys who act like a “father figure” as your boyfriend.
  16. If you feel “icky and anxious,” there’s a reason. Listen to that inner voice.
  17. Don’t fool yourself. Generally, don’t fool yourself.
  18. Don’t fall victim to peer pressure to seem like you’re cool.
  19. Victims are boys and girls. Traffickers look like people you know. Victims may turn around and be traffickers themselves.
  20. Never tell yourself “I’m no good, I’m not a good person.” They prey on people with low self esteem. 
  21. They will tell you “you have to pay” for having joined the group, hanging out with them. That’s how it starts.
  22. They will prey on your fear of being embarrassed. Don’t let them get to you that way.
  23. Young people may know more than adults. 
  24. Don’t judge people – e.g. “that’s a ho,” “she’s a slut,” “she’s a partyer.” Ask instead how the person is doing. 
  25. Most victims do not speak up, so if someone you know displays mood changes, anger outbursts, isolation, depression, or is hanging out with a “shady” crowd, you’re looking at telltale signs that something is very wrong.


By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own; this blog is posted in the author’s personal capacity. Available for reuse under Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information, visit

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