When we talk about grooming in the anti-trafficking space, we aren’t talking about personal hygiene. Sexual abusers, pedophiles and traffickers employ tactics of grooming to prepare their victims to be exploited. In instances of in person, physical relationships and even sometimes online exploitation, grooming builds an emotional connection and trust between the abuser and abused. In the Operation Q video, we explained that the offender lured young boys to his home with candy, online video games and the allure of esteem and affection. We have seen other offenders win trust over the Internet by pretending to run a legitimate business, gaining trust and then manipulating their victims. No matter the situation, the road to abuse and exploitation usually falls into the same pattern of gaining trust and gifting while finding ways to isolate them and then abuse and control.
The below video Lucy and the Boy explains how this happens online and how children are particularly vulnerable.