A Human Trafficking Minute. The process of seasoning

An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in the United States alone. The number of US citizens trafficked within the country are even higher, with an estimated more than 200,000 American children at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year. Victims of trafficking often come from vulnerable populations, including migrants, oppressed or marginalized groups, runaways or displaced persons, and the poor.

Trafficking affects both people from the US and not from the US. Sometimes the victim came, of her/his own accord, to the country and then fell into trouble; sometimes victims are duped from the very beginning; sometimes they are from the US. A victim of trafficking does not speak a particular language or have a particular race; a victim of trafficking can look like anyone.

80% of trafficked persons are women and children.

This does not mean that men are not victims of trafficking. Men are more likely to be victims of forced labor (e.g.: day laborers, construction or restaurant workers, etc), while women and children are often exploited in the sex industry. These are not fixed rules, however, but general trends.

There are a multitude of ways sex traffickers lure children away, but once they have them, these trafficking victims often go through a process of seasoning which includes:  

  • Beating/Slapping/Whipping – With hands, fists, and kicking, as well as with objects such as bats, tools, chains, belts, hangers, canes, and cords 
  • Burning – Of personal items and items of meaning to foster hopelessness and demoralization or directly burning children using cigarette/cigar butts 
  • Sexual assault – Rape or gang rape 
  • Confinement – Using torture practices such as confinement to lock women and girls in closets, trunks of cars, or rooms for indeterminate amounts of time. 
  • Other torture techniques – Such as deprivation of food or water or various forms of bondage such as chaining individuals to items or tying them up. 
  • Emotional abuse – Direct verbal insults, name-calling, threats, mind control, brainwashing, cognitive re-programming 
  • Re-naming – Offering “nicknames” both for endearment and to erase former identity 
  • Creating dependencies – By instructing how to walk, how to talk, what to wear, when to eat, when to sleep, and where to sleep. 
  • Removal from familiarity and support structures – By transporting the victims to a new location or even underground where they knows no one 


Anonymous said…
I was a victim of trafficking at the age of 31, I am now 35! I can relate to this article as I had many techniques used on me to make me perform. I had hypnosis used on me, several times. And the word such as 'seasoning' was used once to my knowledge. One guy said to me "She could do with some more seasoning." He said. Thank God I got through it!

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