Pimps Are Targeting, Recruiting Women Through Online Dating Sites – Including Christian Women
(Link): Pimps Are Targeting, Recruiting Women Through Online Dating Sites – Including Christian Women – by L Fletcher April 2017
WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Forty million Americans use dating sites to find an evening out, a relationship, or even their life-long love.
They think they know who they’re conversing with. They’ve read a potential date’s bio, shared photos, and maybe they even checked out their Facebook page.
But what they see may be dangerously different than what they get.
“It happened very quickly,” Andrea Benson said. “He had groomed me within two months, and pimped me out.”
Benson is a college graduate, raised in a Christian home with a close family.
“I just really wanted to be loved. I wanted to get married and have a family. I went on an online dating website and met this guy and it was a fast and furious romance.”
But what she didn’t know was that “this guy”, who promised her everything, was a pimp.
Detective Chad Opitz – who specializes in fighting sex trafficking – says it’s a dangerous game of bait and switch.
“They don’t do these things by mistake.”
Opitz says pimps target women who they perceive as the most vulnerable.
“You’re trying to exploit somebody that is more straight-laced. You get them out of their norm, and you start to have them do things they normally don’t do,” Opitz said.
For Benson, that meant driving a wedge between her and her family based on her spiritual values.
“It started out with alienating me from my family,” Benson said. “He knew that I was Christian, so he knew that all he had to do was get me to do a few things that my parents wouldn’t like, to start to separate us.”
His plan worked and she moved in.
When she eventually discovered the man she’d fallen in love with was a pimp, and not the web-designer he claimed to be, it was too late.
“He said, well I have pictures of you, and I took video of you, no one is ever going to take you back,” Benson said. “But if you stay with me, we just do this for a few months, we’ll get married and we’ll have kids, and you can be a stay at home mom.”
Benson says she was trapped and the pimp used shame and her faith to his advantage.
…Benson says she eventually found out that she wasn’t his only target.
…And that crackdowns on sites like Craigslist and Backpage are pushing pimps into less targeted spheres, like apps and dating sites.