Sex Trafficker, ISIS Recruitment Techniques 'Identical,' Counterterrorism Expert Says

Jessica, 16, who was arrested by the police during a raid at a sex club, sits on her bed at a shelter for girls who have faced sexual violence or sexual commercial exploitation in Fortaleza, November 1, 2013. | (Photo: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)

Sex traffickers and the Islamic State terror group use identical tactics for recruitment, according to Jeff Tiegs, who is with a group working to end sex trafficking in the United States and who is also a counterterrorism expert.

"These predators (sex traffickers) out there, these terrorists out there are looking for their prey," Tiegs, who leads the Guardian Group, told Lisa Fletcher, the host of the weekly news show "Full Measure."

"Is recruiting for ISIS similar to recruiting for child trafficking?" asked Fletcher, who traveled to Portland, Oregon, to investigate a thriving online market for pimps trafficking young American girls up and down the West Coast.

"It is, in my opinion, identical," responded Tiegs, who spent 25 years in U.S. Army special operations.

They look for someone who is vulnerable and then befriend that individual, he said.

"They begin to groom you and give you the things that you need, but ultimately, that grooming shifts to a breaking phase where they want you to do something that violates your character," Tiegs explained. "That can be something from the terror world as violent as, and final, as a suicide bomber, or in the trafficking world, they convince you to start turning tricks and having sex with men."

The show also featured Lindsey Whittaker, who was a prostitute for six years after she ran away from home at age 12 and landed on the streets of Portland.

Whittaker confirmed Tiegs' theory. "There's pimps and mean dirty people like that everywhere, and they approached me. I told them what was going on because I was scared, you know, a little child in the streets not knowing where they are going to eat, where they are going to go, so when you don't have that and somebody comes and tries to comfort you and take you in, you know, you're a kid and you fall for it," she told Fletcher.

"They train you, they slowly manipulate your mind and slowly say little things, that just get you to where they want you."

A detective, Chad Opitz, who seeks to save girls from being trafficked and also appeared on Fletcher's show, refers to websites like, a classified advertising site, where, he says, girls are sold. Backpage denies it.

According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, Backpage hired a company in the Philippines to lure both advertisers and customers seeking sex from sites run by its competitors.

Workers in the Philippines call center looked for newly listed sex ads on the Internet and contacted those who posted those ads and then offered a free ad on, the Post said.

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