Trafficking and Teens-the Day I Got Propositioned Online

I’m not a teenager. I’m not gorgeous and don’t post photos of myself on Facebook wearing low tops or bikinis (we can all say thanks for that!). Nevertheless, I’ve been propositioned online. The first time, I wasn’t sure that’s what it was, wrote the guy back, etc. I think of that now and wonder how many women or girls, younger than me, who aren’t aware of the tactics, have encountered that situation and walked right into something dangerous.

If you have teens, or even for yourself, those natural internal red flags could save your life. For young people, though, their familiarity with social media might bypass some of those things we’d recognize as predatory, leaving them more vulnerable.

So what happened with me? I sold my hair online. If you’ve ever read The Gift of the Magi, you may sigh at my idea of selling my waist-long hair to buy Christmas gifts for my husband one year (yes, that really is why, and yes, I do love that story so it felt pretty cool doing it in real life). I had found a website where you could sell your hair, like selling an outfit on e-bay to people who use it to make wigs or dolls or whatever. I thought that was pretty exciting, so took pictures of my long, thick hair and posted them. No pictures of my face. No personal info.

The 14 inches of hair I sold.

I heard back from one guy who offered a certain amount and I was to send the hair to him after I got it cut according to his very specific directions.

I heard from another guy who offered more than double that other offer, and he liked to cut the hair himself, so could I meet him at his office after hours or at a hotel?

Red flag. I thought that was strange, but being new to this, I wondered if I was overreacting. When my husband came home, I had him read the message, and it wasn’t unclear to him at all. Then I mentioned the price he offered to the other guy who wanted to buy my hair and he wrote back saying, “You don’t know much about men, do you?”

Guess not. Not those kind of men anyway!

On to the next situation. This one wasn’t so creepy, just some guy who wanted to friend me on Facebook. I get a lot of friend requests from people I’ve met at speaking events or who have read my books, so I accepted this guy’s not thinking much it. Here’s part of the message I got next…

…When i saw your profile,i was thrilled,every thing about you interests me,you look honest,caring,and above all you are beautiful.I want to have a communication with you and see where it leads us,do not mind the age difference as its onlya number while distance can be countered with a good communication…

Even if the grammar and punctuation hadn’t been atrocious, the man’s suggestions let me know I didn’t want to be his friend after all. But then I think of young girls who might get a message like that, one that is well-written, accompanied by a picture of, say, a seventeen-year-old guy, who tells them they are beautiful, they could be a model, who feeds into their desire for worth and acceptance. In time, this new “friend,” suggests they meet somewhere, emphasizing the appealing secrecy of their relationship, telling them not to tell anyone and to come alone.

Most of us would have red flags waving all over the place, but what if you’re a girl in a lousy home situation, you desperately want to escape, and he’s offering a way out? What if you’re insecure and he makes you feel like you matter? What if whoever he is begins posing as a girl the same age and you’ve decided she’s your best friend and the only person you can trust?

The internet has become a large playground for predators, and this is one of the ways trafficking happens.

This post isn’t to scare you into never letting your kids touch a computer. However, it is to warn you what is out there, and hopefully give you some ways to avoid the dangers, such as:

1. From the beginning, make it clear with your children that you have access to every social media account your kids have. They’ll think it’s mean. Do it anyway.

2. Every once in awhile, check into their accounts, see what kinds of friends they have, what kinds of posts they make. For one, it will help you know them better, for another, it will give you a springboard of topics to talk about, and for another, you may feel those red flags in places they might not. I’d actually recommend doing this with them present, try to make it an opportunity to get to meet their friends and see what’s important to them.

3. Care more about them than what they think of you. If it comes down to it, don’t let them continue a dangerous behavior or friendship just because you don’t want them mad at you. I think of that girl who got raped in Steubenville. Why were no parents mentioned in regard to that entire night? Did none of those parents care that their teens were in compromising positions? I don’t know, but I wonder if there were worried parents all over town that night, who had allowed their kids to go to that party because they didn’t want to say no and have their kids be unpopular or upset, hoping it would work out. It didn’t work out.

4. Know what to do. The guy who wanted me to meet him in a hotel–I wanted to report him but had no idea how to, so I didn’t. He probably moved on to someone more vulnerable, or who really needed the money, and fed his line to her. Please memorize the trafficking phone number (which didn’t exist back then) and use it if you suspect any predatory activity. 1-888-373-7888

5. Point out situations and teach your kids to be aware, and what to do if they see something. A friend just yesterday told me she’d seen something at night in her small, nice little town. She described what she saw and right away I gave her the trafficking hotline. The thing that bothered her most was all the people who saw and moved on, not doing anything about it. People who don’t know what to do often do nothing. Don’t be that person when it comes to your teens.

Pretty Woman and the Media’s Glamorization of Prostitution

Aoi, a Thai prostitute, said, 

“I don’t know what’s love…I want love, but I know me…
Me is no good…No people can love me.”

In Thailand, known as the sexual playground of the world, of the woman in their 20s, 1 in 6 is in some kind prostitution.

Click here to watch a video on Thailand’s Need 

It’s easy to assume prostitutes are all “bad girls,” or girls who are willing to do anything for money.

Easy to assume, but wrong.

Yes, there are girls who will sell their bodies for money, but the more I learn about human trafficking and human bondage, the more I do not assume such things when I hear of or see someone who looks like they enjoy this “job” of selling themselves.

“They have to be the best actresses in the world,” a friend says. “They have to smile, pretend they like this, when they hate it.” She has met many prostitutes, and has heard many stories. One was sold into it by her father. Another just wanted to be loved.

I was sickened to hear that several of the American prostitutes she encountered came into that life willingly after watching the “romantic comedy” Pretty Woman. They thought the happily-ever-after love story might happen to them.

A man in a suit stands back to back with a woman wearing in a short skirt and thigh high boots.

It didn’t. Pretty Woman was originally intended to be a dark drama on the evils of prostitution–such movies, however, do not sell nearly as well as a lie, making the main character spunky and in charge of her own life, a heroine, making the client a good guy who rescues her from the life even though he himself paid to borrow her body.

Makes me sick. I have a friend who began selling herself to pay for the drug habit started by her drug-pushing father. I have another friend who was trafficked here in America and is now free. Their stories would not make a romantic comedy. I have never heard of one real-life prostitute who was spunky and happy and in control of her future.


In fact, the average life span of a girl brought into the world of human trafficking is 5 years. Five years until the drugs or the violence or the “job” itself kills her, and another is brought in to take her place.

What does this mean for those of us who hate the idea of prostitution?
1. Hate the evil, not the person. 
2. Don’t assume you know why someone does what they do. They have a story; take the time to hear it.
3. Treat every person with the value they were given when created in the image of God.
4. When you see someone you initially want to judge, pray for that person instead.
5. If you see someone in this life who looks fearful or under another’s control, call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-788 (888-3737-888) and give them a chance at freedom.
6. Thank God for His grace in your own life. There are girls all over the world who grow up in brothels, who have no options but to one day join “the line.” If you were born into freedom, thank God for it.
7. Teach girls their worth in Christ, that their worth is not in how much attention they can get for their looks or their bodies.


It’s not cute, or funny.

Then lets all see beyond the outfits and even the outward actions, and look into broken hearts needing the love of a Father, the love of a Savior, the love of a friend.

Trafficking and Teen Girls – Nancy Drew Isn’t Real and the Bad Guys aren’t that Stupid

Nancy Drew books were fun. She was always getting kidnapped or held hostage. The bad guys would say, “We’re going to kill you,” but then they’d go to the grocery store or somewhere else, giving her a couple of hours to come up with a creative way to escape.


Thanks in part to Nancy, I grew up thinking that to be captured was cool, that it would be exciting to get close to danger because there was always a way out, and I would be a heroine.
Then I grew up. I found out that Nancy Drew isn’t real, and the bad guys aren’t that stupid.

Sadly, there are girls who don’t figure that out in time. I have a friend who works with prostitutes. Several of them said they got into prostitution after watching the movie Pretty Woman, about a prostitute who meets a nice, rich guy, they fall in love and live happily ever after. These girls thought that might happen to them.

But it doesn’t.

51xz970DQTL._SY346_Since my suspense/romance novels on human trafficking have come out, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to lots of groups of women and girls. Teen girls are especially important to me, because in America, they are the ones at risk. In the US, the big target is runaways. Pimps are good at seeing what a girl is seeking and becoming that…for a time, until they are trapped.

I want to talk with teen girls because they can make a difference. Not just by getting involved in different activist groups. They can make a difference themselves, where they are. And you can, too. Here’s how:

For parents:
1. Teach teen girls to find their worth in Jesus Christ, so they don’t look for it in dangerous places.
2. Keep open communication with your teenager. Be the kind of person they can come to if they are struggling.
3. Be real with your teen about the dangers out there, especially on the internet. Predators can pose as young girls, or even be young girls working for traffickers. Know who your kids hang out with online.

For teen girls:
1. Know how much you are loved and valued by God. The One who made the universe says you are worth dying for. That’s pretty amazing. (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 31:3, Zephaniah 3:17, John 3:16)
2. Don’t look for your worth, or try to prove your worth, by your looks, your body, or the attention you can get from guys, especially the older, edgy kind. I know if feels powerful, but it is often a door to a place you don’t want to go.
3. Never, ever go alone to meet someone you met over the internet. If someone online even suggests a meeting, tell your parents about it. I’m in my 40s and I’ve been propositioned online – it happens.
4. Befriend the girls on the fringe, the ones who – if they disappeared–people would assume they ran away. Those girls are targeted, so your friendship could actually save their lives.
5. If you know your worth in Jesus, share it with other girls, so they don’t need to be looking for it in the wrong places either.

Nancy Drew stories aren’t true, but that does not mean that happy endings are impossible. We can change the world, one person, one heart at a time.

Let’s start with the hearts of the girls closest to us.