It’s illegal to exploit anyone for financial or personal gain.

Because of the betrayal and corruption that victims/survivors have been subjected to, advocacy work can feel the same as trafficking tactics. Traffickers and advocates use the same methods/tactics to lure victims their way. All predators and traffickers hide behind prestigious labels and titles.

From my experience and perspective, I’ve listed some contradictions and oxymorons that come to mind. This was written to provoke thought. I’m sure we can add more to this list. What would YOU add?

This article was also written to show how important it is to look beneath the surface of positive and negative labels and behavior, and how easy traffickers and predators can hide.

My message is: Take your time before you judge or trust. Listen to that voice inside you to lead you in the right direction and in the direction that’s right for YOU.

Important tip: No one will be able to recognize trafficking by looking at it because it’s an underground and hidden crime. Only trained investigators and forensic interviewers can uncover the crime. Our job is to:

  • learn the red flags
  • learn how to report red flags and our suspicions
  • learn how to prevent
  • learn how to intervene
  • get involved in advocacy work
  • get involved in education/awareness
  • If you don’t get involved in community work, you can still apply what you learn in your own lives and families. Know the resources in your area.

They both work the same way

  • Both traffickers and advocates promise victims a better life or employment
  • Both traffickers and advocates are kind and patient to gain trust
  • Both traffickers and advocates offer gifts (or material care packages)
  • Both traffickers and advocates offer to meet victims’ basic needs
  • Both traffickers and advocates offer protection and safety
  • Both traffickers and advocates have rules victims must abide by

Is it Trafficking or Advocacy?

  • It can be a trafficker/predator working under the guise of advocate, police officer, the parent or anyone with authority
  • It can be trafficking under the guise of volunteer work
  • It can be recruitment under the guise of outreach
  • It can be brainwashing under the guise of counseling
  • It can be a secret under the guise of confidentiality
  • It can be exploitation under the guise of fundraising
  • It can be isolation under the guise of severing unhealthy relationships
  • It can be drug abuse under the guise of medication
  • It can be trafficking under the guise of “free” training


  • Dangerous safe house (or shelter)
  • Kind predator
  • A predatory victim
  • A victimized criminal
  • A recruiting outreach worker
  • Healthcare who don’t care
  • Law enforcement who don’t protect victims
  • Job opportunity with no pay or benefits
  • An evil pastor
  • A false, bright future
  • A rescuer with wrong intentions
  • Reckless courage