I do not normally listen to the radio but a couple of days ago, in the car, I happened to hear a bit of the latest “Focus on the Family” broadcast. A young girl was telling her story of being an almost-statistic in the sex trafficking industry.
Who was she? A runaway? An out of control quasi-delinquent?
No, Brianna was a responsible youngest of five children – eighteen years old – working in her small town’s local cafe. An athlete. A strong student. College bound.
So what happened?
Deliberate, focused evil working on weak and sinful human nature.
An older man began to frequent Brianna’s cafe. He chatted with her visit by visit and got to know a lot about her – the way you do if you have recurring contact with someone. And he was storing up this information (probably supplementing by online trawling?) until he had her well profiled.
Then he sent in two younger guys – college fellows, football players – who began, in turn, to visit her cafe. What do you know? They liked all that she liked. They had exactly the same outlook on life, the same interests. She had never met young people so similar to herself.
And they began to plant ideas in her mind.
She was too pretty to be in a two-bit town. She should come to Seattle (close by) and they would help her get settled in for college. Ask her parents? No. She was eighteen and it was ridiculous that she should seek their permission for life plans at this point. Aren’t parents domineering? Don’t they want illicit control of young adults? And so on.
She fell into their hands like a ripe plum.
Brianna was unsettled and upended by their prodding, insinuations, and flattery. She accepted their offer to visit them in Seattle. While she was there, one of the students decided he would take a quick trip home to visit his ‘family in Arizona’ the next day. Did Brianna want to come along? She did.
He had a buyer all ready for her.
But one of Brianna’s friends, and his father, figured out what was happening. They managed to get someone knowledgeable in human trafficking to speak with her that night. This woman battled over four hours to convince Brianna that her wonderful new friends were, indeed, slavers…while her parents sat and waited to see what would happen. Brianna was, after all, legally an adult. They could not have stopped her from going to Arizona.
Can you imagine?
And I believe the last part of this assault on Brianna- the phase involving the college guys – took place within the span of just a few days. From typical teen to an almost-slave over the course of a week or two.
From wicked men who play on the most vulnerable elements of our sinful selves, O Lord, deliver us!