A man approached one of the girls, a runaway, when she was crying at a bus stop. He approached gently, took her out to eat, and began a relationship.
In another case, a man approached a woman at a bar and started a conversation. They soon began a relationship. He moved in with her, and often would care for her 2-year-old son.
After periods of "grooming," in each of these Fox Valley cases, a switch flipped. The first man had a pornographic video of the girl he used as blackmail; the other held the woman's child hostage.
They were pimps, wanting to turn out the victims for money. It is a crime that occurs beyond Chicago and Milwaukee, officials said Friday at a meeting of the Outagamie County Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Partnership.
"It's like a wolf on a sheep," Appleton police Lt. Steve Elliott said. Pimps are charming and gentle, building up a broken girl until she feels she needs him; then he exploits her for money, most often with ads on sites like Backpage com.