Monday — May 24, 2021

What Is Grooming?

by: Shannon Rodriguez

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship of trust and emotional connection with child or person that is vulnerable so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse their target person. A groomer/perpetrator knows how to exploit the weakness of their victims(s), and the groomer will tailor his/her tactics to what the vulnerabilities of their victim are.

Individuals are “groomed” online, in-person, and/or both by a stranger or by someone they know. This could be a family member, a friend or someone who has targeted them. A groomer can be any age or gender.

Often, a groomer will try isolate the victim from their family and friends making them feel dependent on the groomer. The groomer will make sure that the victim is unaware that they are being groomed. They will often use blackmail, threats, and manipulation to make the victim feel guilt and shame, which helps to control the victim. When a groomer is online, they may hide who they are by sending photos or videos of other people. Often, of younger, more attractive people than them, simply to gain trust or the interest of that child/minor/unsuspecting individual.

Who are Targets for Grooming?

Children, immigrants, individuals who live in poverty, young people, or someone who is already in an abusive relationship or is living a neglected lifestyle are often targeted. Additionally, individuals who are in recovery from an abusive relationship, those who have survived hardships or other abuses (domestic violence, sexual assault), such as leaving a cult situation, foster children navigating the foster care system, or being homeless, etc., are often seen as vulnerable targets.

Tactics of Grooming: “It’s all an act!”

· Overly charming and present/ giving a lot of attention, especially on online platforms/social media

· Using his/her position as a mentor or authority figure to get close or to gain control

· A romantic relationship that is too perfect

· Pretending to be the protector and acting outraged if anything bad happens to the victim

· Giving advice and showing understanding or concern that is over the top

· Buying gifts/luring victims in with money and a false sense of security

· Manipulation/Coercion that will cause confusion for the victim (threats, blackmail, negative social media exposure, etc.)

BE AWARE: HUMAN TRAFFICKING--Grooming, Sexual Exploitation and Social Media…WATCH KYLIE’S STORY!

Warning: strong content! Teens should view with a parent/adult... Watch HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Grooming, Sexual Exploitation and Social Media | Dark Web Exposed Season 2 Video (oxygen.com)

“Between 18,000 and 20,000 people are trafficked in the United States every year, according to the Human Trafficking Hotline. Roughly a quarter of those trafficked are children sold for sex. Social media and digital websites have become major grooming and recruitment tools for predators. Digital websites and platforms are too often clandestine marketplaces for trafficking. Take a look at this episode dives into the underworld of human trafficking and the digital tactics used by those that perpetrate it.”

Here’s another story from the UK, remember Human Trafficking is a GLOBAL problem! Kayleigh's Love Story - Full Version - YouTube

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