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Grooming is the 'word' these days...

so, what is it & why does it matter?

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Grooming is about building a relationship with a child in order to later abuse them. This is usually done online, but can also happen in other ways.  Online games, social media, webcams, live streaming and chat-rooms provide people (usually adults) with a way to make contact with kids to try to and groom them. These people will often make multiple online identities and even pretend to be kids to trick real kids into chatting  with them, gaining their trust and then pushing the boundaries to get what they want from the kid they are grooming. 

These people can find out a lot about a kid they  potentially want to groom before they make contact with them just by looking at the things the kid has posted on social media.  Using this information they can target kids who are particularly vulnerable and carefully plan what they will say to gain the kids trust. These people make contact with lots of children just waiting for the right one to respond.

The legal definition: Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 USC § 7102).

Why does this matter?

As a kid, life is all about friends, being liked and fitting it. It's not uncommon for kids to feel pressured into doing things they may feel uncomfortable with just to feel accepted by their peers.  Wanting to fit in is a very normal feeling to have.  The "princess syndrome" I call it, where the girl is rescued by the handsome prince and they live happily ever after, is drummed into our heads from childhood, so it makes sense that girls thrive on compliments and those "feel good moments". Groomers search for just that girl looking to be "rescued by the prince", sending compliments and making her feel special & loved, then he sets his trap. Before long he asks her to send nude pics and eventually meet.  

Most groomers are men, however women have been arrested for grooming too.

Grooming is a process that can take a long time to complete. Groomers can be patient, waiting for just the right moment to pull you in.

Why do I care? Because I was groomed.

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What is sex trafficking?

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Sex trafficking is one specific type of human trafficking, It occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will. Adults or children can be victims of sex trafficking. Child sex trafficking includes any child involved in commercial sex. 

Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse, or the young, naive or gullible.  Pimps (traffickers/groomer) lure kids with talk of being their "boyfriend or girlfriend", showering them with gifts, compliments & affection.  Once they have"hooked their prey", with false promises of making lots of money, their undying love & forever happiness, the pimp (trafficker/groomer) will ask to meet. At first, the pimp (trafficker/groomer) will be like a dream-come-true, romantic, loving and attentive.  Once the pimp (trafficker.groomer) has you under their control, they then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage,  physical beatings or other forms of control and manipulation to keep you trapped with no way out.

Many people are unaware that sex trafficking isn't just an international problem. Sex trafficking is happening in our own backyards – whether you live in rural America or in a big city, you might be surprised to learn that it’s happening in your neighborhoods and communities. 

The commercial exploitation of kids is a  growing problem in the U.S.

Trafficking statistics

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  • Human Trafficking in the U.S. is a $32 billion dollar industry
  • Kids as young as 11 years old are groomed & sex trafficked
  • Up to 90% of kids sex trafficked are under the control of a pimp (trafficker/groomer)
  • Pimps (trafficker/groomer) commonly sell kids for sex for $400 an hour or more. The younger the kid, higher the price
  • Kids are especially susceptible to the deception and manipulation of pimps (traffickers/groomer)
  • Pimps (traffickers/groomer) use the internet to search for kids, but they also recruit at locations where kids can be found; like schools, malls, parks, even protective shelters, group homes and kids in foster care
  • Boys and girls can be victims 

Supporting pregnant teens & women is one part of our nonprofit

The founder of YCGM and a team of professional birth doulas offer no cost and low cost birth doula services to teens and women in the community. Just one of the many ways YCGM is making a positive impact in our community.

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Thank you to B4UClick for this informational video