We believe that understanding how to best protect you or a loved one from a trafficker’s network only comes from an informed understanding of trafficking.

When we are equipped with the truth and an informed understanding, we can better act to prevent sex trafficking in our own communities.

Myth: Most trafficking victims are kidnapped and held against their will

Fact: At RAHAB, we are often asked, “where are the hotspots for traffickers?” Any place that a child/teen has a smartphone and privacy should be considered a hot spot. Instead of kidnapping, it is more common for traffickers to use psychological tactics to “date,” recruit and groom their victims. Once the victim begins voicing objections to their trafficker, then the situation often escalates to violence; however, the grooming process has begun long before this happens. So that, some individuals believe they are in love with their trafficker (often referred to as a boyfriend).

Myth: Trafficking requires the movement of a victim

Fact: Movement of a victim is not a requirement in the legal definition of sex trafficking.

Myth: The Super Bowl is the largest sex trafficking event in the world.

Fact: Sex trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry where traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of others. Sporting events, and other major events, where large groups of people gather in a specific region, are a magnet for business of all kinds, including sex trafficking.

While traffickers are savvy businessmen and go where there is demand, they also are aware of where law enforcement is focusing their efforts and are constantly changing their tactics.

Importantly, there has to be year-round awareness and response

The awareness raised about sex trafficking leading up to the Super Bowl helps to increase public knowledge that this crime exists in our communities; however, that awareness shouldn’t be limited to a specific city for a single game. Understanding trafficking is the first step in eradicating it.

Myth: The government is the best source of funds to fight human trafficking. There is a lot of funding and organizations just need to apply for it! It’s easy money!

Fact: It is true that there are a lot of grant opportunities for fighting or preventing human trafficking within various Federal and State agencies and RAHAB builds meaningful partnerships with government agencies for grants and other support, but federal and state dollars are not the best source of funds. Government grants are often highly competitive and very time intensive – both to apply for and to manage. It is NEVER easy money.

RAHAB is committed to providing the same cutting-edge and relational trauma-informed care to the women and children we serve that they have come to know and trust over the years – and we are committed to growing and improving the ways we support victims and survivors. Sometimes, in order to do that, our best option is to apply for government grants and establish (hopefully) long term relationships with the individuals who work in the state or federal office that facilitates the grant. Other times, taking on the administrative responsibilities that the grant requires would cause undue burdens on our office and programming staff or even on those we serve, and we believe it would make us less effective in fulfilling the mission of RAHAB.

We are very purposeful about what and how many grants we apply for and accept, and ultimately believe that engaging the community and the church to support this work and BE THE SOLUTION is the best way to continue providing Truth and Love to the most vulnerable.

Myth: Sex trafficking often looks like the movies, where someone is kidnapped and brought to another state or country to be exploited.

Fact: Sex trafficking often involves a systematic grooming process over a period of time and includes several stages:

Recruitment and Grooming: Lure victims, build relationships and create dependence.

Breaking: Remove sense of self, use physical violence and psychological control.

Sexual Engagement: Desensitization, expand window of tolerance and intentional training of the life.

Myth: People being trafficked are physically unable to leave their situations because they are being locked in, bound or held against their will.

Fact: While that is occasionally the case, it is more likely the person being trafficked is staying for reasons that are more complicated than physical restraint. Some reasons a trafficking victim “just doesn’t leave”

Lack basic necessities to physically get out – such as transportation or a safe place to live.

Afraid for their safety.

Have been effectively manipulated so that they do not identify as being trafficked. They believe they their trafficker is a boyfriend and loves them.

Myth: Law enforcement is the key to ending sex trafficking

Fact:  Before Suzanne Lewis-Johnson became RAHAB’s CEO, she worked as an FBI agent. In this short video, she explains that together — through people linking arms with organizations like RAHAB and in partnership with law enforcement — we will eradicate sex trafficking.

Myth: Leave fighting sex trafficking to the professionals.

Fact: Everyone can do something to end sex trafficking! No act is too small or insignificant to make a practical difference. It takes everyone, with all gifts and skills and backgrounds, to work together to end human trafficking.

People need to understand WHY these women turn to drugs. They are desperate to numb the pain that is being brought upon them & truly feel that it is their only choice. We must be slow to judge & quick to listen. Until we’ve walked in their shoes, we cannot pass judgement.

Myth: Traffickers and abusers have a certain look to them.

Fact: Traffickers and abusers are not limited to the creepy guy with the big white van. They are just as likely to be the clean cut, well dressed business man that you pass in the grocery store.

Myth: If the trafficked person consented to be in their initial situation, then it cannot be sex trafficking or against their will because they chose the situation.

Fact: Initial consent to a commercial sex act prior to acts of force, fraud, or coercion (or if the victim is a minor in a sex trafficking situation) is not relevant to the crime, nor is payment.

Myth: Federal grants are the best source of funds because they are consistent – the money is there, so why not take advantage of it?

Fact: Federal government agencies do have a lot of funds to distribute as grants, but those funds aren’t always consistent. A lot of variables control how much money is allocated in different grant funds, such as the political or judicial climate, the current economy, and more. Government agencies who award grants are tasked with not only managing where the money goes, but how much goes to each organization.

The need is great and when circumstances cause grant funds to dwindle, granting agencies have to pass those cuts on to nonprofit organizations, regardless of how great the need is. This year RAHAB is seeing an additional 34% cut from our VOCA grant. (in addition to the 30% cut last year.)

This is one of the reasons why RAHAB believes that government alone is not the answer. We believe that the modern-day slavery of human trafficking can be best fought when the Community and Christ’s Body of Believers come together to provide hope and healing.

You are part of the solution – you as volunteers, prayer warriors, and donors are the hands and feet of Jesus, and when you show up in the way that God is calling you, that is much more impactful and much more consistent than federal funds could ever be.

Myth: My kids are safe and I can trust them using social media apps -- they will tell me if anything inappropriate happens. Being sexually solicited online happens to other kids, not mine.

Fact: One in Five kids have been sexually solicited online! And 75% of youth who received an online sexual solicitation DID NOT tell a parent.

Myth: Sex trafficking is too big a problem...there is really nothing I can do about it.

Fact: RAHAB is committed to reaching everyone that is impacted by sexual trafficking and providing the answer for eradicating it. One of the greatest weapons of evil is the lie that “you are too insignificant to make a difference.”

This lie can paralyze people from taking action. When you link arms with RAHAB, you take a giant step to provide real hope and help to women and children. We regularly provide opportunities to Volunteer. Educate. Connect. Donate.

Myth: Sex trafficking involves moving, traveling or transporting a person across state or national borders.

Fact: The crime of sex trafficking does not require any movement. Survivors can be recruited and trafficked in their own home towns.

Myth: My child is safe online. I've talked to them and they know what to do and what not to do online.

Fact: We regularly teach that the most dangerous “hotspot” for trafficking is when a child has a device connected to the internet in a private setting like their bedroom. It is crucial to remind your children:

*Never share pictures of yourself online that you wouldn’t want to be seen by your family or teachers.
*Set user profile to private so only real friends can get access. 
*Know who you’re chatting with – a “friend” is not always a friend.
*Don’t share personal information online such as your full name, school, address or phone number
*Don’t meet up in person with anyone you met online.
*Report suspected abuse to law enforcement or a trusted adult.

Myth: Sex trafficking must involve moving, traveling or transporting a person across state or national borders.

Fact: Sex trafficking does not require movement or border crossing. If someone is forced to work or engage in commercial sex against their will, it is considered trafficking.

Myth: Once an organization gets awarded a federal grant, they are set. Federal grants will fund an organization as long as it continues to provide services.

Fact: Grants are awarded for a set period with a fixed budget. Many grants must be reapplied for annually, while others can be 2, 3 or 5-year grants. Regardless of the length of time, no grant is permanent and there is no guarantee for renewal.

Although federal awarding agencies like to renew grants with the same nonprofit organizations, as long as the previous grants were in good standing, changes to federal budgets, the number of applicants, and political focus mean that grant awards shift over time.

RAHAB carefully assesses each grant opportunity and works to balance those asks with other support from community businesses, individuals, churches, and others. We believe the best way to continue providing cutting-edge care and life-giving hope to vulnerable women and children is to find balanced, consistent funding from those who are called to be part of the solution through financial giving.

Myth: Prostitution and trafficking are not the same thing. The women who "sell themselves" are there by choice and randing in the dough.

Fact: Most of the women involved in prostitution are under force, coercion, or deceit and are victims of sex trafficking.
That’s why at RAHAB we have our Street and Strip Club Outreach.

Myth: Women and Teens are in "sex work" by choice.

Fact: This is a really unpopular fact in mainstream culture, but I wish people didn’t think that the individuals who are in “sex work” are there by choice, when most of the time it’s because of vulnerabilities in life that brought them there – even if they say it was their choice. No little child grows up wanting to sell their body.

Myth: ‘Underage Prostitutes’ chose that life for themselves.

Fact: There is no such thing as an underage prostitute! Any minor involved in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking.

Myth: Trafficking only occurs to children overseas

Fact: Sex trafficking occurs in the United States and includes survivor exploitation, familial trafficking and street level trafficking. Traffickers exploit the vulnerable by offering to meet specific needs.

Myth: Sex trafficking only affects people who are vulnerable because they are poor.

Fact: Sex trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality and may come from any socioeconomic group.

Myth: Social media feeds are regularly filled with images of white vans and zip ties warning readers to “be careful of sex trafficking rings.”

Fact: Through boots on the ground experience, RAHAB is less concerned with white vans and zip ties and more concerned with one of the most dangerous places for a child to be…alone, with a smart device connected to the internet.

Traffickers are experts at identifying vulnerabilities through social media content. Is a child angry at their parents? Do they feel like they don’t fit in? Are they bored? Lonely? Need some money? Is their content provocative? Attention seeking?

Traffickers can quickly become a “friend” and initiate a grooming process.

In the end, a child could be more likely to meet their new “friend” at a local store, rather than be abducted by a stranger in a white van from that same store.

Myth: Sex Trafficking mostly involves foreigners and happens in other parts of the world.

Fact: In our hands-on, boots on the ground personal experience over the last 19 years…
The large majority of women we have worked with are born locally, raised locally, and sold locally, and bought by those who live locally!

Myth: It is easy to just leave the life of being sex trafficked. Women and Minors should just get help and get out.

Fact: Leaving a life of trafficking is so much more than “just leaving.” It can take multiple tries and often so much wrap-around, long-term support. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

Myth: Sex Trafficking usually begins with a violent crime like kidnapping.

Fact: By far the most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it always or often involves kidnapping or otherwise physically forcing someone into a situation.
In reality, most human traffickers use psychological means such as tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex!

Myth: The women you see on the street, at a store, in public are addicts or as prostitutes.

Fact: Frequently, the women people cast judgement on while driving down the road of a busy city are the ones being trafficked. Too often, women are written off as addicts or as prostitutes. However, stop and ask yourself, “What led this woman to the scenario she is living in?” She more than likely did not grow up thinking “One day I hope to have sex everyday with a different man as a means of survival.”

People need to understand WHY these women turn to drugs. They are desperate to numb the pain that is being brought upon them & truly feel that it is their only choice. We must be slow to judge & quick to listen. Until we’ve walked in their shoes, we cannot pass judgement.

Myth: No one in my community would buy from traffickers

Fact: One of the main reasons trafficking is such a big problem is because there is a high demand. Where there are traffickers and survivors, there are buyers. Buyers come from every demographic regardless of income, age, socio-economic class, ethnicity, or gender. Promote education and awareness in your community. Don’t turn a blind eye and don’t tolerate predatorial behavior of any kind.

Myth: All traffickers are men

Fact: While this is the most common, we have worked with girls who have been trafficked by other women, sometimes a family member.

Myth: Ohio is the 4th largest hub for sex trafficking

Fact: This statistic is generated from the National Trafficking Hotline which reflects the number of calls they receive and is not reflective of cases identified outside of their scope. So, it does not reflect any statewide or community data collected by law enforcement.

Myth: Pornography has nothing to do with human trafficking.

Fact: Many women and children we serve have told us pornographic photos and videos were taken of them while they were being trafficked. Pornography is linked with human trafficking in many ways. The Freedom Youth Project Foundation reported that thousands of adults and children being trafficked are forced to make pornographic films.
Women and girls have told of being held captive on sets, dozens of people witnessing their assaults, not to mention the video then posted online for upwards of thousands of people to view.
In addition to affecting the viewer negatively in various ways, it is very difficult to verify whether any or all the participants in pornography are consenting adults.