“I own her”
By: Brittany Langlois
It started out innocent, so she thought. She met him at a gas station and asked if he could buy her cigarettes since she was underage. He was handsome and charming and knew just the right things to say. He bought her cigarettes for the exchange of her number and that’s how it all started.
He took his time as he swayed her to let her guard down. He saw her vulnerabilities and knew she was the perfect one for the job. He could tell she was already broken down to an extent and had probably experienced some kind of abuse by the way she carried herself. He smooth talked his way into her head by telling her all the things he could give her. To her he showed what she thought was genuine interest but was really the mastered skills of manipulation at work. He spoke sweet whispers of lies into her ear as they made their way into her heart. She thought he was her knight in shining armor. With her dad absent in her life she was desperate for the love of a man.
See this wasn’t his first victim. He had much experience under his belt. He knew the key to successfully own her was to get her as isolated as he could. She still lived at home but was looking for a way out. She would sneak out at night just escape her reality and live in the fairytale he was getting her to believe. He got her to open up about her life at home, her family and their issues. He listened intently and took mental notes knowing this is the information he needed to trap her. Little by little he got her to rebel against her family and eventually run away with him with promises of a happily ever after together.
He introduced her to heroin and the party life. He would convince her to sleep with his “friends” and would say “do it if you love me.” Before long she was trapped. He would take her out and parade her around to any guy who was willing to pay. He knew where her family lived since he used to pick her up while she snuck out late at night and would us it to his advantage to keep her quiet. He would make threats to kill her or her family if she wouldn’t do what he said. He had the power to make her do anything. He owned her.
Traffickers take their time at grooming their victims. The grooming process is a combination of psychological manipulation, physical abuse, intimidation, with holding necessities such as food or clothing, threats, and isolation from family/friends. The goal of grooming is to break down a victim’s resistance and ensure compliance. They can play the role of a loving boyfriend or a daddy figure. They gain the trust of their victim and get them to open up. They really get to know them and use it against them later. It’s a twisted trap that keeps them on a leash and in slavery.