Give for Freedom

Trafficking Terminology Part 3

Trafficking Terminology

The world of trafficking has its own language and codes. But more than that, it has its own culture. Understanding this culture is of paramount importance to the process of responding to it. In previous posts, we’ve unpacked some of the language that of the life of trafficking.

Click here to read Trafficking Terminology Part 1 - all about the people who exploit girls.

Click here to read Trafficking Terminology Part 2 - all about some of the things victims endure.

Let’s look at some more terms that help us understand what the life of trafficking is really like.



A “stable” is what a trafficker usually calls the ring of girls that he controls and exploits. Just to clarify, this is how Webster defines this word:

Stable: A building for the lodging and feeding of horses; a collection of animals housed in such a building.

This term is especially disgusting, given the blatant reference to treating girls and women as animals to be owned. One of our friends who was trafficked in the states told us that there were four girls in her trafficker’s stable, including her. Every night, each girl had to make a quota of between $800 and $1,000 before returning home. She said that he would often force them to their knees and walk around the room, putting a gun to each girl’s head as he said “who feels like dying tonight…” When he would pull the trigger the chamber was empty, but their hearts were full of fear. The term, stable, is a reflection of the fact that these young ladies live in a situation where they are owned, trained, and treated like animals.


“In-Call vs. Out-Call”

In-call refers to when the meeting is set up for the John to come to the girl, usually a house or apartment. Out-call refers to when the girl goes to meet the John, typically at a hotel or other point of rendezvous. We have seen both.

One time in particular, our outreach team was on a case with local law enforcement where the police organized a meeting with a juvenile at an apartment in a very residential part of town. When the police showed up, they were able to recover the girl, but her trafficker - a middle aged man - ran out the back and escaped.

Other times, we’ve been a part of sting operations where the rendezvous was planned for a hotel. We watched as men showed up for the meeting they set up with an under-cover officer - these Johns obviously had a big surprise waiting for them.

Whether it’s in-call or out-call, the fact of the matter is that there are men who are buying girls and women sex, so traffickers are selling them.


“Bottom Girl”

This term is one that surprises many people. The “Bottom Girl” (if you look it up on Urban Dictionary, you’ll find this is the clean version of the term), refers to the girl in trafficker’s stable who is at the top of the pecking order. The Bottom is responsible for a number of things. 

 The Bottom Girl helps to recruit new girls into the stable and train them in that trafficker’s specific rules. She is also responsible for keeping the other girls in line, especially when the trafficker is away, and for taking the fall for the trafficker when the police get involved. Often, the Bottom Girl earns her title and role by receiving an exceptionally vicious beating.

 This term surprises many people because one of the great misconceptions of trafficking is that every girl wants to be “rescued.” Quite frankly, most girls and women have been so brainwashed and manipulated that they believe they have chosen this life. (That is a completely different conversation for another time.) To be the Bottom Girl is to have risen to the top. The Bottom is still mistreated, abused, and exploited, but for her, this role means a place of authority in a world where everything else in her life is wildly out of her control.