I can not manage to condense the experiences of the years in the sex industry in a few short blogs. There are many events experienced between the big life-changing ones, which seem to shape a person’s life, which may at first appear insignificant, or not important enough to mention, but every experience contributes to the whole. Most of the time, girls don’t get into the sex industry due to a lack of knowledge. They end up trafficked because their situation does not appear to them to be like what they were taught, or they find themselves too deep into the street life and suddenly they find that there is no way out. Of course, this does not account for the girls who are kidnapped and forced into working, however, most of the time we find the methods to be more covert.
Each of the three traffickers I’ve mentioned in these blogs used different grooming tactics, and I’ve met many more pimps who have their own unique brand of grooming. Because of this, it is hard to give a specific list of grooming strategies or tactics that traffickers use, because it differs with each trafficker. There are, however, three main categories that people try to put pimps into. These are: Romeo pimp, Gorilla pimp, and CEO pimp. When you categorize them into these three alone, however, it makes it confusing when you encounter someone who does not fall into one of these three categories, or who perhaps embodies all three. It makes it difficult to even know if the man is a pimp, because he does not exhibit those characteristics you would attribute to one.
Let’s begin with my first trafficker. This man was a very obvious CEO pimp. A CEO pimp views sexual exploitation as a business, and views women as items which he owns, or wants to own. This trafficker typically targets younger women or girls who are away from home, and they love to go for young women with aspirations in the modelling industry. The CEO pimp uses tactics like showing you a fancy life or a “life in the fast lane,” making you envious, and then offering you the life you desire. They typically tend to brag a lot about themselves and what they can do for you. They promise you a next to perfect life, with everything you can ever want, but they rarely follow through.
Next up on the docket… my second trafficker. This is where it begins to get confusing. See, by this time I had been working in strip clubs for a while, I had heard the change room talk between the girls, I knew a thing or two, I wasn’t as naive as I once had been. I knew the terminology, I knew the difference between a CEO, Romeo, and Gorilla pimp, I was kind of cocky and thought no one could touch me. I never expected to fall for a pimp. But I did, because this man defied my expectations of what a pimp looks like, acts like, sounds like, and therefore, I decided impulsively that he was not a pimp. That was my mistake. I hope this knowledge becomes more well known, for it could save lives.
My second trafficker was aloof and careless when we met. He didn’t seem interested in me, he seemed preoccupied playing pool with his friends. He had just got off work and was in sweatpants and his hair was a mess. I was like, okay, he has a job, he clearly doesn’t need me because he doesn’t even want me around so he doesn’t fall into any category. We ended up talking, with reluctance on his part, and then we hung out after the club. He made lots of jokes. He laughed a LOT. He seemed like he didn’t have a care in the world, he acted like he was on top of the world. This in a way should have put him into the CEO pimp category in my mind, simply because of his arrogance and inflated ego, but I didn’t notice that at the time because he wasn’t at all like my first trafficker.
After a couple of weeks together, my second trafficker developed some of the Romeo pimp attributes, he bought me weed (cannabis) because I smoked at the time, he would drive me to work and kiss me on the cheek when he dropped me off, he complimented me occasionally. All this time, though, he still kept his original attitude of carelessness and egotism. I assumed this was just his personality, I didn’t attribute any of what he did to a grooming strategy, but that’s exactly what it was. He made me want him with the aloofness, he kept me on the hook with the jokes and not taking anything seriously, then he strung me along by adding some Romeo tactics and buying me little gifts and showing me affection.
I started giving him money of my own accord. And gradually, his Romeo tactics turned ever so subtly into Gorilla pimp tactics. I still couldn’t see him for what he was, because his tactics were so different from anything I thought a pimp would use. Once he had me on the hook with love and affection, he gradually began to get aggressive, he began controlling my bank account, my identification, and all of my money went to him. He made me work in the strip club until I was utterly exhausted, and then after a few months together he told me I wasn’t making enough money in the club and he made me work in motels, escorting. Eventually, there was no trace left of the Romeo tactics he had used originally, and the Gorilla tactics increased to a disgusting point, where he left the print from his Timberland boot in my jaw, and then choked me until my nose poured blood, my head spun and I saw stars, and then he let go and screamed at me, “Bleed bitch!”… then told me to clean up the blood.
It took quite some time for me to finally see that this man was a trafficker, who uses all three of the categories’ tactics to his advantage. He molds his tactics to his victim, and he did this perfectly with me. He managed to confuse me into thinking I was in an actual relationship. It confused me because everything I knew about Gorilla pimps told me that they were aggressive all the time, typically kidnapping and threatening their victims, and are said to not get attached emotionally to the women they traffick. This didn’t align with what my relationship with this man was. When I eventually escaped from him, I charged him with domestic assault. I genuinely thought that is what had happened. But it had been trafficking, and if the court process was easier, I would go and upgrade his charges because he deserves to go to jail, but the court process was almost more traumatizing than the events themselves, and that is such an unfortunate fact.
A year after I escaped from my second trafficker, I met my third. I should have seen him for what he was instantly, he was so blatantly obvious about it. He was 100% a Romeo pimp. But I had, a year ago, escaped outrageous violence and physical abuse, so this man being so loving toward me was such a wanted change. I had almost completely forgotten the initial stages with my last trafficker, where he was kind and affectionate, as well. But this man was different, or he appeared so to me. He was quiet, not obnoxious. He seemed humble, not arrogant. He won me over by listening to me, making me feel appreciated and valued, showing me affection and adoration every second of being around him. He gave me butterflies. He made me swoon. We said we loved each other almost instantly. It was so quick. He showered me with gifts and compliments, he seemed so kind.
He kept up this facade so effortlessly, it seemed so real. He said he didn’t want to share me with anyone, so he didn’t want me escorting, which was reasonable in my mind. But I couldn’t just not make any money, right? He got me to post as an escort but just go in and take people’s money and leave. He would frequently get jealous of the customers if I stayed too long or was talking “too nice” to someone over the phone. He began to get very controlling, always going through my phone trying to find something to get upset about. One time he woke me up in the middle of the night screaming at me over a picture I had in my phone from years before I’d even met him. It was emotionally exhausting. I felt completely drained after two months with him, and this time it was easier to accept I’d been fooled.
It’s impossible to categorize traffickers into three neat little categories. In order to better understand them, we need to acknowledge that no two are alike. I think, instead of trying to understand the trafficker, we need to try to understand the girls who end up being trafficked. What were they lacking that they hoped this man or this environment could provide? We need to have the hard discussions with our daughters and sisters so that they don’t end up searching for happiness or fulfilment in all the wrong places. This may be controversial, but I’d be willing to wager that the one common denominator among all these young women who are coerced into the sex industry is a lack of self-love, self-esteem, or security. If we focus on that issue, I believe we’d see less young women victimized and re-victimized.
So informative and authentically written from lived experience.
Bless you for the lives you’re changing!
Wow, this piece was unbelievably moving. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, strength, & hope.
I’m so happy you are safe now! *hugs*
Thank you for writing this, for what it meant to you to write this in the way that you have. It means a lot (and means a lot to us who may or may not have left a comment) and takes a lot more for you to do that. It helps so much and i’m certain because it is so clearly imformative to help anyone who really needs to understand or relate to this what has or could happen to them. It could have been any of us and some of us really could not have helped anyone the way you have It’s important for young people to be aware and it is really special that you chose to, decided to, do this. It really helps and teaches us from what you went through and you eere meant to get through it all. That gives hope especially to any one struggling in that. My words and i myself can’t appreciate enough or write what my heart feels after reading what you have explained. Your experiential knowledge on such people i thank you for putting yourself with your heart, mind, dedication and that effort needed to go through it all and in a way organised that will do something for the rest of us. Thank you x
Reading this today I’m so happy you are safe and hope you find someone that cares for you as you should be treated
Just went through the first stages of trying to be pimped out by someone who was a Romeo/Gorilla type and barely stayed alive.
This article helps understand what happened.
Wow, I never knew much about pimps , let alone knowing that there are different types and their tactics. This was very informative, thank you
Thank you for writing this! You are brave and helping so many by sharing your story.
This is a spectacularly written post. I admit, as a man, stuff like this messes with my psyche—I’m researching the tactics pimps use to “sucker” women into their arms and just reading about it makes me want to lie down. Christ. It’s stuff like this (the unapologetic reality) what makes me hate being a writer. I feel for everyone who’s been a victim of trafficking, and I hope you find peace.
No, it’s not the targets, it’s not the victims. These traffickers are predatory misogynists and research has shown they do the exact same methods that pedophiles use on children. If you are targeted you are targeted, it has nothing to do with the victims because a predator obsessively studies their prey and will do whatever it takes to get what they want. 90% of harm in any woman’s life finds it way to her through the person she chooses to date, trafficker or not. The tentacles of human trafficking are always extending to whoever it can latch itself onto, there is no discrimination when it comes to opportunists. Thank you for writing what you have in this article. The more information that is out there, the better chances people have to protect themselves and others.
These days many traffickers have turned towards technology to traffick in persons remotely. They use military tactics to control a targets communications and finances through their devices. I wish law enforcement was more aware of this, and more aware of how even they are taken advantage of in these scenarios.
I used to blame myself for being a target. The man who picked me knew me before through a two month dating scenario years before. I was engaged to be married. He seduced me into a situation that upended my whole life and sense of stability. All so he could make a buck. I didn’t fall for it – I woke up. I was not educated on these things but something was fishy. One night (the last night I ever saw him) it clicked. Something in me said “this is human trafficking, you are in danger.” I called him out and I left before any damage could be done, I had him by the balls and he knew it. He immediately blocked me. I will never understand why this man did this to me. I was so kind to him. He knew it. I told him to never return. I asked him why he was the way he was – he didn’t answer. He said he was sorry. I have a feeling he was sorry he got caught. I dealt with PTSD, debilitating panic, and I was almost hospitalized trying to cope with what had happened. I was seen as meek, introverted, and perhaps “ripe for the picking.” I was stronger than I realized. Thank you for reiterating it is not the victim.
WOW! You’re story is powerful! I praise GOD for your life and honest testimony. YOU NEED TO WRITE A BOOK! ASAP!
I have been through similar experiences and even ended up having a baby my the second man who trafficked me after having his son he then went after my little sister and is now in prison but getting out this year my son is in the care of CPS and I’m dealing with the mind set his father left me with of a ptsd anxiety bound excourt I hope I get my son and my life back soon
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I sympathise with you wholeheartedly. I am so sorry you went through several horrible experiences and I know it to be traumatic. I birthed a son with my Romeo/gorilla p, escaped after 2 years of horrific beatings, various abuse, forced to see clients till I could no longer at a bulging 6 months. Truly met a monster – being a narcissist, he couldn’t let go of control and has been taking me to court for years to take my son. Despite my trauma and having to pay out of pocket for attorneys costs whilst he hides behind pretend the computer screen plotting away, never seeing justice for his already self-made criminal history, the courts still refuse to see the danger he is. Bonus- he’s done this to several women, and now touts as a famous podcaster who judges the very same character he is hiding behind.
It’s blisteringly unfortunate that women from all walks of life and upbringings continue to be harmed through vulnerability. It’s sickening. I know I’m not the only one- and I carry this constant trauma with me as I try to break free from this prison I’m in all because I had a child by him. My one goal is to protect my son. But gosh, I am EXHAUSTED and drained.
I am also stuck in the same situation. I feel so all alone. It’s like nobody understands. They are quick to judge me or remind me that I have been putting up with this behavior since day 1. How easily they say that I need to leave him alone. Ha! If it were only that easy, I would have been gone a long time ago. Does anyone understand that I have been abused for so long, that I don’t know any other way. I have been told that this was what LOVE IS. I’ve been through so much pain, I just want to feel something different. Anything but used. (Unless it’s by God,) He can use me to glorify HIM. May God bless all of us that are hurting, let us know that we are not alone. Our voices will be heard. And every dog will have his day. Thank you for sharing your story. You’re not alone. Silence is compliance. We need to educate our kids so they won’t be deceived.
Powerful article and I’m so happy you’re safe!
God bless you
Thank you for this information, I had no knowledge. My granddaughter experienced this as of the past 3weeks ago. She’s been trafficked so many times. I’ve reported it to The Killeen, Tx police Dept, Austin, and Houston. They give a damn about you kids. She almost died 4days ago.
she was given Multiple drugs at one time. She is now safe in Behavioral Hospital.
I’m afraid she will go back to the pimp she was with when realeased.
At a loss for words. I am a survivor after having working for an agency solely focused on these issues for 4-5 years. Feeling hopeless right now isn’t the word. But extremely grateful for people who understand and are sharing their stories to dispel the myths.