'If you take the pimp out, you still have the John and the prostitute'
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Patrick Alexander said he spent five years trafficking women.
Alexander grew up around that lifestyle.
He said his uncles were pimps who made the lifestyle seem normal.
Alexander said he would pick up women "everywhere," but his favorite spot was public transportation.
"I called it recruiting," Alexander said. "You dress up and go out. And you just go up and start talking to people."
Alexander described grooming women with compliments and expensive gifts.
He said traffickers slowly make their victims trust them and depend on them financially. Often, they lead these women to think they are in love.
"Not to think, but believe," Alexander said. "This is the guy that I'm supposed to be with. "
Alexander described switching from romance to violence and threats.
Mark Miles, the founder of B.O.S.S Ministry, was in what he calls "the game" for more than a decade in Portland.
"A girl that's struggling, a dead end job, bills to pay - that's a target," Miles said.
Alexander said he would often target women who said they did not have good relationships with their fathers.
"They are targeting the vulnerable who are looking for something," Janz said "Who have these empty places in their heart. And they find out what that is and they promise that to the nth degree."
Eventually, both Miles and Alexander were arrested and spent time in jail. That is where they said they found God and had a conversion of heart.
Now, they minister to victims on the streets of Portland. They said, once a victim is lured into sex trafficking, it is difficult to get out. However, it is not impossible. They encourage victims to know their self worth.
"Understand that even though you might make this choice, you're being used. You're being used in all kind of ways," Miles said. "You're worth more than that. You deserve more than that."
He warns women that it is a dangerous lifestyle. However, many women do not realize they are being trafficked.
Miles's message to pimps is to find help.
"God didn't create us to use women," Miles said. "Think about your mothers. Think about your sisters."
Miles also points out that there are thousands of people who pay for sex every day. They play a major role in putting an end to this form of modern slavery. Without demand there would be no trafficking.
"If you take the pimp out, you still have the John and the prostitute. You still have sex trafficking," Miles said.