Common Human Trafficking Ploys

FBI Seal - ESS Global - Common Human Trafficking PloysUPDATED 9-9-2020
Perhaps you have read about the recent child trafficking busts in Georgia and other US states including Ohio and Indiana. But what you should also know is Covid-19 is creating a situation where it’s almost twice as likely to lose a child to sex trafficking.  

First, the internet is a primary recruiting mechanism for child sex trafficking. Youths are spending more time on the internet due to the pandemic. Children who are already vulnerable are at increased risk of being groomed by traffickers on the internet. Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted these vulnerabilities — many families and children are stretched thin on needed resources and are left insecure. Child sex traffickers most commonly are adults who provide a promise to vulnerable children of relationship, love, or other means of support.
Secondly, Human traffickers prey on vulnerable children: runaway and homeless youth; those with low social supports; children who have been sexually or physically abused or are chemically dependent; or children who have a history in the foster care system or juvenile detention – even from “good homes”. It’s not just sex trafficking: Children are at greater risk of all forms of child abuse during the pandemic because of an increase in risk factors such as stress, financial difficulties, food insecurity and isolation. Social distancing has removed many children and adolescents from social supports including schools, summer programs, and community services, decreasing opportunities for mandatory reporters and concerned citizens to notice warning signs of child abuse and take appropriate reporting action.
If you or someone you know could be a victim of sex trafficking or exploitation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888
Original Post
Just last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, recovered 149 sexually exploited children and young adults and arrested more than 150 pimps and other individuals.
“Our mission is to protect the American people—especially our children—from harm,” said FBI Director James Comey in a statement. “When kids are treated as a commodity in seedy hotels and on dark roadsides, we must rescue them from their nightmare and severely punish those responsible for that horror. We simply must continue to work with our partners to end the scourge of sex trafficking in our country.” You can read the FBI report HERE.
“We’ve had fake photographers offer modeling shoots down here in Florida”, says Theo Billiris, CEO of ESS Global Corp. “One happened very recently in Orlando who then kidnapped and raped two young women. A free modeling photo shoot is a big attraction, however all too often it ends up at a remote location such as a secluded area or a home or garage off the beaten path. And it’s not just happening here in Florida, as shown by the FBI operation it’s happening all across America.”

Here are some human trafficking ploys that are common for children and young adults.

  • Blind Dates – Katie picks out the girls her “boss” would like and targets the ones who will bring in the most cash for payment. She befriends unsuspecting girls until they trust her enough to go on a blind date that Katie then sets up for them. Unfortunately for Taylor, she is one of the girls that Katie becomes friends with. Katie then suggests to Taylor that she goes on a blind date with a “really good friend who is going to school to be a veterinarian.” They meet at night at a restaurant. He seems nice, walks her to her car and a van pulls up. Taylor never sees her friends and family again.
  • The “Too Good To Be True” Offer – Much like the “free photo shoot” (with the fake portfolio to boot), these are the “chance of a lifetime” offers that involve amazing job offers, travel to places you’ve only read about and opportunities you only dreamed about. Except you never come home.
  • Parties and “social events” – these are human trafficking ploys inevitably at locations you’ve never been to (with people you have recently met). The drinks are spiked, the world spins and you blackout. When you wake, it’s quite possible you are not even in the same state.
    Social Media and Human Trafficking Ploys
    Be Careful on Social Media
  • Social Media including Craigslist, Backpage, Tinder and other websites, smartphone apps, texting and chatting. Social media is cool. It’s also dangerous when it leads to off-line meetings in unfamiliar (and even familiar) surroundings. Don’t think for a minute that pimps, traffickers and other nefarious individuals and organizations don’t use social media. Think for a minute. ISIS is all over social channels. Be careful. Be very careful.
  • Boyfriend – Remember, you are dealing with professionals who target your vulnerabilities. Much like the blind date ploy, your new boyfriend knows what to do and what to say. No one ever told you how beautiful you are and John really seemed to mean it. John also knows that we all have emotional needs. He invites you to a concert out of town, and neither John nor you return.

The bottom line is it’s terrifying how people take advantage of children and young adults. It’s a myth that human trafficking only happens in poor, underdeveloped countries. It occurs with frightening regularity throughout the US. Be safe, not sorry. Let everyone know where you are going. Go places with a true friend or meet people with chaperone.
Make every effort to be safe.
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Think Twice About Posting Pictures of Your Kid on Facebook (And Instagram)

Think Twice About Posting Pictures of Your Kid on Facebook (And Instagram) – It’s the friend of a friend of not so friend problem we’ve discussed before.
It’s the start of a new school year… and…you need to…

Think Twice About Posting Pictures of Your Kid on Facebook (And Instagram)

Before you put a photo of a young child in an essentially public domain, you need to consider that you are making this choice on behalf of somebody who relies on you to keep them safe.

Not long ago, we posted about posting on Facebook that you are away from home…at a concert, theme park, festival. etc  –  as when you post, your post can be seen be your friends, and their friends, and people that are not “your friends” and how bad people search Facebook for these types of “away” posts, then look up your address and rob you.
It’s a big problem that doesn’t get much media coverage. 
You also need to keep in mind that the search function on Facebook is like the “Google Search” of Facebook.
Think Twice About Posting Pictures of Your Kid on Facebook

Your Post may Attract Dangerous People

Photos and videos of children shared by their parents on social media sometimes turn up on disturbing websites and forums, some of them dedicated to child pornography. In one instance a Nashville mother tried to track down the identity of a stranger who had shared a photo of her daughter. She followed the photo to a page belonging to a man in China. On that page she discovered her photo, along with a lot of other photos of little girls.
This isn’t as uncommon as you might think. According to an Australian Children’s eSafety Commissioner, one site offered at least 45 million images, half of which were photos of children taken from social media accounts. The photos were of everyday family activities, but were accompanied by graphically inappropriate comments.

Think Twice About Posting Pictures of Your Kid on Facebook

Think Twice About Posting Pictures of Your Kid on Facebook
It’s easy to forget that social media posts can also provide indicators that can help people identify where a child lives, plays, and goes to school. Posts with information like location tags and landmarks (such as schools) give strangers as well as known child aggressors the ability to locate a child and other family members. This is especially dangerous for families who are trying to manage custody disputes and/or escape domestic violence situations.

  • Don’t share photos and videos that contain personal details, such as full names, personal contact information, or uniforms that identify school or location
  • Never add comments to photos that identify locations; for example street address, school name, or even identifying features in front of your own home.
  • Only share with people who you really know and trust. Rather than posting to all of your friends on social media, be selective and use the privacy settings on your social media platform. Also, be aware that if one of your friends likes your picture, it may also become visible to their friends. You may be better off messaging them instead.
  • Ensure that you have talked with other parents before posting and sharing images that include their children.
  • Be very mindful of metadata — most digital photos taken with cameras or smartphones contain information about the time, date and GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken. There are programs (think Photoshop and the like) that expose this embedded information!

It’s totally understandable to want to share posts about your family on social media. If and when you do decide to share, try asking your children what they’re comfortable with and take some serious precautions. Pay close attention to privacy settings on your social media pages. Choose your photos carefully and watermark the ones you post publicly. Ask friends and family to refrain from posting photos or videos of your child. And start involving your child in deciding what is appropriate to share with others. Those conversations can help ward off creating bad feelings in the future and are useful for preparing your child for living in the digital age.
Think Twice About Posting Pictures of Your Kid on Facebook
Worse, virtually any picture can fuel online bullying.
We’ve talked a lot about how something shared online can never truly be deleted and can be seen by friends of friends of friends. You lose control over the content you post as soon as it is uploaded. You can’t even truly control who ends up seeing it, even on a private account. And anyone can take screenshots and share them.
So what happens if an embarrassing photograph of a child falls into the wrong hands? Your child could face trouble at school. They might face name-calling and bullying, or even lose friends, because of an old picture (or even a current one). If your child doesn’t want a picture posted, or feels embarrassed by a photo, don’t share it with others.
In addition, if your family becomes a target of online harassment for any reason, your child and their pictures will be caught in the crossfire. The dangerous mob mentality of the Internet leads to many people taking things way too far, and this can affect your child’s well-being in a very big way.
Again, it pays to think twice when posting pictures of your children on Facebook.

Holiday Safety Tips

The Thanksgiving Turkey has been picked to the bone, and the holiday shopping season has officially begun. 31 Holiday Safety Tips for 2017.
We know the holiday season is always a special time of year. It is also a time when busy people become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. Thieves are opportunistic and even worse, this is the time of year when professional criminals work 24 hours a day.
Since there are 31 days in December, here are 31 holiday safety tips from ESS Global Corp.

Holiday Safety Tips 2017

Holiday Safety Tips


  • Holiday Safety Tips - ChildrenChildren are a distraction in the car and at the mall and even more so during the holidays. They are also at a higher risk of being abducted. Child trafficking is rampant in the US.
  • If at all possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
  • Teach your child to go to a store clerk or mall guard and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
  • Never allow small children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
  • Children of any age, should not be allowed to go to the car alone, especially at night.
  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security guards.


  • Holiday Safety Tips - ATMUse ATM’s that are inside a building or a bank.
  • Shield your PIN when someone is behind you.
  • Only take out exactly what you need. This is not the time of year to walk around with a fistful of cash.
  • Pocket the receipt.

Shopping Malls, Strip Plazas and Box Stores

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with friends or family. There is safety in numbers.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Keep cash in your front pocket.
  • This is the time of year to stay very alert to your surroundings.Shopping crowd
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home and notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused (check your January statement with a fine toothed comb).
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in Christmas shopping crowds and shopping areas. Purse snatchers love crowds, and mobs of shoppers make their “job” easier than at any other time of year.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings. You know the sort of thing: someone tells you a story of despair and asks for your money to help put things right. All too often these are con artist tricks — and they succeed because they sound like they’re real.

Driving and Parking

  • Holiday Safety Tips - ParkingAvoid driving alone especially at night.
  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed.
  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lit area. Again, try to go with friends/family.
  • Avoid parking next to vans or any car, truck with tinted/blacked out windows.
  • Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked. This is not the time of year to be walking around a parking lot at night with a purse and presents, searching for your car.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This is catnip for thieves. If you must leave anything in the car, lock it in the trunk or hide it out of sight.
  • Be sure to locate your keys before leaving the mall or store, do not fumble around for them standing beside your car.
  • When approaching your vehicle, be very aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area. Ask a mall guard or store security for a quick escort to your vehicle.

Holiday Parties, Family Get-Togethers

  • Holiday Safety Tips- PartiesWhen leaving your home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and/or pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Indoor and outdoor lights should be on automatic timers.
  • Leave a radio and some lights on so the house looks and sounds occupied while you are away.
  • Be cautious of posting holiday plans on Social Media.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when you leave as well as when you get home.

ESSLonger nights and shorter days make for extended periods of low light. Anyone, especially a woman, walking through a dark parking garage or mall lot, both arms occupied with shopping bags, makes for a tempting target. Don’t be that target. Stay aware of your surroundings and may you and your family have a Joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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