The Grooming Process – Flash Fiction

[This was written in regards to human trafficking, the modern day slave trade. If you or someone you know someone that might be a victim of human trafficking than contact your local law enforcement, or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888)-373-7888. You can text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733) – Check out http://www.polarisproject.org for more information.]

Caitlin walked towards the mall on the dusty highway, wiping the tears from her eyes. She could not believe that her mom stayed with that man. He was not going to change! Why could her mom not see that her step-dad was nothing but an abusive alcoholic? Caitlin hated that she had married the guy. Caitlin hated that her mom continued to forgive him. Caitlin hated her mom.

“Jackass,” Caitlin whispered, her breath taking shape in the cold air. It made her feel better to insult her step-dad. He deserved it, especially after what he had done to her mom – and to her.

She wiped her eyes again. She did not want to think about it.

The black Cadillac pulled up to the sidewalk ahead of her. She did not recognize it, and brushed it from her thought. She kept her eyes straight ahead of her, ignoring the vehicle, even as the passenger window rolled down.

“Heya, pretty girl,” a man hollered at her, “Where ya goin? It’s freezing out here.”

Caitlin ignored him. She wasn’t about to be stupid. She did not care how cute the guy peering out the window was, or if he thought she was pretty.

“Are you crying, doll?” he said a bit louder, “What’s wrong? Ya get into a fight.”

Caitlin paused. Her eyes must be swollen from crying, “It’s just cold.”

“Ya sure?”

Caitlin kicked at the ground, moving a bit closer to the vehicle, “My…my parents got into another fight.”

The man in the passenger seat smiled. It was a sweet smile. Innocent. “Damn, I’m sorry, doll! No one should be fighting around a pretty thing like ya.”

She blushed, “You really think I’m pretty?”

“I’m sure all the guys tell ya that ya are.”

Caitlin shrugged, “Not really.”

“Aw! Ya are being modest, girl,” the man laughed, “How old are ya?”

“Thirteen.”

“Ya is definitely cute. What’s ya name?”

“Caitlin, you?”

“David. Ya can call me Master D though. Everyone does.”

“Are you like a rapper or something,” Caitlin laughed.

“Somethin’ like that,” Master D smiled back, “Gettin here, Caitlin. Let’s go get ya something to eat.”

Caitlin bent down to see the driver and Master D before taking a quick glance up and down the sidewalk.

“I’ll take ya home afterwards. Promise.”

Caitlin nodded, “Ok.”

[Caitlin was never seen again by her mom or step-dad. Similarly to many others, Caitlin soon found herself being physically abused, drugged, and prostituted out to men in a cheap hotel room. Nearly 100,000 children are in the sex trade each year in the United States and even more around the world. Get involved and help protect our kids.]

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