At one time or another, every kid is asked what they want to be when they grow up. Some kids follow in their family’s footsteps, perhaps upholding and celebrating a long-standing tradition.
The sex trafficking world also has its own family traditions in which kids are not given an opportunity to choose their path, but they are forced into what’s known as “the life” – a life of sexual servitude and assault. It’s hard to believe, but a trafficking victim can even be living under the control of a pimping parent or other family member.
Recently, ATP’s counter sex trafficking team identified 23-year-old “K” from Oklahoma in an escort ad.
“K” was tattooed or branded with a family name while she was a minor. Pimps brand girls like cattle to denote possession and control.
At the age of 18, “K” went missing. Typically, pimps turn out the girls they control on or around their 18th Birthday. This is when they are considered adults under the law and pimps no longer have to fear an automatic trafficking charge.
Around the same time as “K’s” disappearance, the family member who was pimping her was incarcerated. Our analysts believe this was when “K” was picked up by another pimp and branded with his specific crown tattoo.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, “K” has likely been in “the life” too long to be willing to assist law enforcement in charging her pimp openly.
Our thoughts and prayers are not only with “K,” but also with the younger generation of her family who are currently being groomed by their own mother. In a short time, they, too, will be turned out when they turn 18.