E03: Selling Girls in America – Breaking

Here’s the third episode of the Podcast: Selling Girls in America, which I host with Guardian Group. to learn more about this horrible crime and how to protect yourself and your loved ones, visit their website at www.guardiangroup.org.

To listen to the podcast, go here or subscribe at your favorite podcast platform.


The breaking phase occurs when a trafficker introduces his victim into “the life”. For some this can be very violent, including gang rapes, for others it may be giving an illicit massage to one of the predator’s friends.

Shame is often used to maintain power and control. Statements like: “You are just a whore now” “No one will believe you” “Your family won’t love you anymore” “You are the one committing a crime” may be used.

If recovery of a victim is not made prior to this breaking phase it becomes much more difficult.


Stable: the group of victims under the control of a pimp/trafficker. The average is 3-5.

The Life: what a victim refers to being trafficked as.

The Game: what a pimp/trafficker refers to trafficking as.

  • 25% of survivors report when sold online they saw an average of 10 buyers per day [source]. The number slowly goes down from there.
Complex Trauma:

In all trafficking situations complex trauma occurs that can be persistent and devastating. Trauma effects the body on every level, it removes the ability to self-regulate which then interferes with a victim’s perception and cognitive ability. Trauma is experienced not only from the interactions with their pimp/trafficker but with every sexual encounter the victim experiences. The trauma associated with just one day in “the life” is hard to comprehend, let alone years.

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The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

For an example of how these techniques are used, read Jane Austin’s The Pride and the Prejudice with annotations by Shawn Coyne.

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