CD: Most of the women in these situations are paralyzed by fear, and they do not want to do anything to bring attention to them or their situation because they’re convinced they’ll get deported if they are undocumented or convinced that the trafficker is going to tell the victim’s parents what she has been doing with these johns in hotel rooms. She’s going to be ashamed of videos or pictures taken of what she’s been doing. Many are afraid that the pimp will carry out his threat to kill her because he’s already beaten her to a pulp on numerous occasions. A lot of times, and this is very sad, her life was pretty crappy before she got involved in this situation. She thinks, “I can have that kind of crappy life, or I can be with this guy and make some money. Well, all right, I’ll stay with this guy for a little while.”
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 03 – March 2018
Some of those women are then convinced by the pimp to recruit other women. That first victim becomes what we term “the bottom.” The bottom then will recruit other girls because the bottom knows that if they recruit other girls, they don’t have to do it anymore. They can become the one that takes the pictures and puts them online but doesn’t have to be the one who is engaging in sex with the john. So you’re right. The vast majority of the victims that I’ve encountered are going to stay for a while. “A while” could be a year or six months, but they are going to stay because it’s just too paralyzing to think of how they get out of this.
Next month, in Part 2 of this interview, Ms. Deitle will outline some techniques that emergency department staff can use to help suspected victims of human trafficking.