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Thrill of Hope Day 13 - Who grooms?

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Who are these pimps that groom? What do they look like? These are good questions. Often times we won’t see them, and we won’t see the grooming process. Those who groom don’t want to get found out. They want to keep it between them and their targets. Even though these people might not be seen they are lurking in our community as a real threat.

I was shocked to learn that both men and women participate in the grooming process, but this is true. Men and women have different roles in the grooming process and often they work in teams. Generally speaking the girl who grooms would be the pimp’s bottom bitch working to grow the stable. Her job is to get more girls for her man and at times it involves grooming.

Men who groom generally play the want-to-be boyfriend. Most of the time these men are older than the girls, but not always. To a girl who is misunderstood and lonely, this will be a welcome gift. These men will seem to have their life together from an immature standpoint. They might have a car indicating freedom and independence. These men will usually have nice clothes and/or jewelry to give them an appearance of success. Also, they might flash cash around to show that they can provide.

Women who groom play the older friend. This also a gift to a misunderstood girl. The woman will simply befriend the lonely girl and give her companionship. In having woman-to-woman conversations, they deepen their friendship by sharing information and life. These older friends can teach the younger how real women act. They can teach them how to do makeup so it looks nice and it makes the girl feel more beautiful. The older can also teach the younger how to be and act, dress beautiful and sexy. The groomer will use their influence to teach the younger to pose in sexy positions, taking pictures of them to show their beauty. Eventually the groomer will introduce the young girl to her “boyfriend” who is her pimp.

Grooming can take place anywhere there are youth: the apartment where they live at the mall, on the walk home from school, airports or the public pool. Groomers hang out looking for easy targets. Once they find the target, they will work to get them away from their normal settings, isolating them from their support systems if there are any. Older women can be groomed as well but this is far less frequent than the grooming of youth.

According[1],“Of the nearly 25,000 runaways reported to NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) in 2017, one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 88% were in the care of social services when they went missing.”[2]Groomers look for these children. Children in the care of social services usually have a higher ACEs score. “Today, the average age of child sex trafficking victims reported to NCMEC is only 15 years-old,”[3]states If you don’t think this is happening locally, I hope that you may open your heart and your eyes; “Child sex trafficking has been reported in every single U.S. State,”[4]according to experts.

Pimps know how and where to find their next victims. I focus this section on the grooming of children because we want to protect those who are vulnerable in our community. Once they are groomed for the life it is easier for them to continue. I heard a statistic once that claimed that 90% of the woman who are in the life, had been at one point controlled by a pimp. I cannot verify this statistic, but it has stuck with me because it encourages me to show love and kindness to those who might be vulnerable. It has taught me to keep my eyes and ears open. If we can lower the percentage of girls who are groomed, we can lower the percentage of women who end up in prostitution.

The sad reality is that grooming can take hours, weeks, and everywhere in between. With runaways it can happen very quickly because of their need for safety. With those who live in unstable homes it can take longer but it does still happen. We can have vigilance on our street as we look for these kids, seeking to encourage them. The men and women who groom are not stupid; they are educated on the streets and willing to risk taking advantage of our youth.

#TeamMitchellBoys is raising awareness this month and also fund for Peoria Home. Peoria Home is just one place where we can put our deepening understanding to practice.


[2] accessed Dec. 12, 2018 at 8:30am

[3] accessed Dec. 12, 2018 at 8:35am

[4] accessed Dec. 12, 2018 at 8:40am

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