Human trafficking manifests in various forms, all characterized by exploitation. Despite common misconceptions, it often doesn’t involve organized crime or illegal border crossings. One particularly brutal aspect is the control of prostitution by pimps, marked by violence and coercion where victims are treated as commodities.

Orlando, known for Disneyland and its international tourism, has unfortunately gained notoriety as the sex-trafficking hub of the United States.

In a notable case, Richard Rawls, a career criminal, preyed on vulnerable women recently released from prison for prostitution. Promising love and support, he lured them into a situation where they became trapped in a cycle of exploitation and abuse.

Rawls’ case is just one example of a broader pattern of recruitment and exploitation nationwide. With the rising female prison population, correctional facilities have become prime hunting grounds for traffickers. Upon arrest, women’s personal information, including photos, criminal records, and addresses, is often posted online, making them targets for traffickers who use this data to identify potential victims.

Traffickers exploit prison banking systems, sending money to inmates to establish relationships and gain their loyalty. Many incarcerated women, facing loneliness and uncertainty, welcome the financial support, unwittingly falling into the traffickers’ trap.

The deliberate targeting of women leaving prison is widespread, as traffickers capitalize on their vulnerability and lack of support systems post-release. With nowhere to turn and a criminal record hindering their prospects, these women are especially susceptible to exploitation.

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