The Lover-Boy Method: It Can Happen to Anyone
Our team in Europe knew a woman we'll call Naomi. She was a law student. After many years working as a professional, she had gone back to school. She was a smart, confident, and savvy person.
One day, she bumped into one of her former co-workers online. He told her he had moved to a Western European country and started working in electronics. He had learned the local language there. He said he was doing very well.
They talked a lot after that. Naomi was so happy to have reconnected with this kind, sweet man. On her birthday, they chatted online. He taught her how to do a "toast" in the local language.
Then one day, Naomi thought she saw other people in the room with her beau when they were chatting. She asked who they were, but the man waved it off. At that moment, Naomi knew something was off. She contacted our team. In turn, our team connected with law enforcement in the man's country.
It turned out the man had already been convicted of a cyber-crime and was under investigation. After a while longer, the police traced him to a server with 14 computers and phones. He was selling recordings of Naomi from their conversations, and particularly the "toast" he had her say on her birthday. He had superimposed images of her face in disgusting ways. Authorities arrested him.
Naomi was mortified, terrified, and relieved at the same time. When police uncovered the server he was using, she had been planning to go visit him. It's likely that she would have been sold into slavery.
Naomi's story illustrates two things:
1) It's VITAL to educate people on how to spot suspicious situations and keep an eye out for traffickers' manipulations. She was a grown, educated woman. She was not naive, and she was still almost in danger.
2) The Freedom Highway, a collaboration of law enforcement, medical professionals, churches, and more across Europe and beyond is so important for catching traffickers and keeping women safe.
You have already done so much to build this Freedom Highway and to keep women like Naomi SAFE. Will you share her story today and invite someone else to join this fight?
Together, we can be the generation that ends trafficking once and for all.