After the recruiting process traffickers and recruiters use something called control tactics to keep the person they are exploiting under their authority. To have a better understanding of what these control tactics are and how they are used we need to first look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs…

Maslow’s theory is that there are five stages of needs and growth that motivate a persons behaviours; physiological needs, a need for safety, a need for belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization. Traffickers and recruiters focus on the fact that a person has these needs and use it against them in the exploitation process. Things such as:

  • Physical, sexual and emotional abuse
  • Sextortion (using nude photo’s as collateral)
  • Withholding personal identification (driver’s licence, passport, bank cards)
  • Isolation
  • Verbal Threats (“if you leave I will hurt your friends/family”, “no one will believe you”)
  • Brainwashing and Phycological Abuse
  • Forced drug use & Forced drug debts
  • False promises (of a better life, of security, of love and companionship)
  • Impregnating
  • Projecting (“this is all your fault anyway”, “you deserve this”)
  • Branding (tattooing the person with their exploiters “name”, often a code name or symbol)

are all used to prey on these needs and control them, making it hard to leave or escape or even believe it’s possible to.