By Alvin Erickson

Your Offspring Will Be Outsmarted, Maybe You Too

© 2022 Adults Saving Kids

The America of today provides many opportunities for clever people to snag unaware and unprepared people into doing something or becoming focused on something they were not ready for. This paper will help us look at sophisticated subtle evil and how it works. We are not talking about obvious evil on the front end and that is why we might get caught in something without realizing it. This article might even help us see what we could be doing or doing better to have nasty, hurtful and misery-making traps be avoided.
David Sherman was one of many strip club managers with a successful plan. He knew how to get young women to dance in his club. Now most of us would believe that our own daughters would never do such a thing. We believe we have raised them to not strip down naked in front of a bunch of leering customers. We might say to ourselves in no way could this ever happen to our daughters. And believing that, we might then just leave well enough alone and go on with our lives
But this is where we fail to realize how sophisticated and subtle scheming actually works. What David did was done in a step by step process which raised no major red flags. First of all, he went over to a college campus and advertised for waitresses, disk jockeys and bartenders. He was promising great pay. So young college women would show up at his club ready to apply for a job like waitressing. When they entered the club they encountered three realities. First, the building and setting had some class—an inviting place in which to work. Then they noticed some of the dancers and realized nudity was there in this atmosphere. Thirdly they met David, the manager—a normal looking white man in a suit. He looked like a regular business man.
So observe the set-up. This young woman took the initiative to obtain a job. She came to the place of employment and now was going to be talking to the manager who had the power to hire her. She was on his turf. Two things looked safe and normal: the quality of the club and the ordinariness of the manager. Only the nudity raised concerns. However, this young woman had made the effort to be there and the manager was right there so before walking out and leaving, it seemed she needed to hear what he had to say.
Truth to tell, she now was walking into the starting point of a well-rehearsed hidden agenda. Totally unbeknown to her, she was not unlike a squirrel entering into a trap with luscious peanut butter at the far end. David was fully trained to counter her qualms and negative reactions. He knew what she might be thinking and how he could speak to any questions or concerns she might have. So he talked to her about waitressing, the $150 to $200 she could make with tips in one shift. He stressed that the dancing was over there but it would have nothing to do with her. She would be serving food. Or being a disk jockey or bartenders if she preferred. He knew she was probably mulling over her need to make some good money to be able to pay for her college costs. So his job was to reassure her that he cared about how this was going to work for her and that she would be safe and unaffected by what else was happening in the club. He was putting himself forward as a caring friend. In other words, she was not going to lose a thing on this appealing deal.
Besides all of this, he spoke firmly. He really needed a waitress and wanted her to start on this date at this time. So as he presented it everything was good to go. She had the job, no more questions asked. Think about this for a moment. At this point, how many young women would be ready to walk away from this and never come back? How many 19- or 20-year-olds would go home, consult with their parents or a wise friend before taking such a job? We might also ask how many parents would see through the set-up she was facing and turn her away from the money she could make? According to David this initial encounter with a young woman did the trick almost 100 percent of the time. She would come back and start working as a waitress. What she didn’t know and probably would never realize was David was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He knew exactly what he was up to but she had no clue what that was. There was a good chance she was not thinking this opportunity is too good to be true! She was probably not asking why the great pay and why did he not have to know more about me.
In most of life there is in the background, people we are or could be accountable to. Report cards are given in school telling us how we are to be evaluated for the academic effort we accomplished. When children go someplace at night, most parents expect they will be home by a certain time. They are held accountable for keeping that curfew. When young people go off to college, they may find they are not accountable to anybody as far as their private lives are concerned. However, if a parent has declared early that I am your protector, making sure you stay safe this could possibly help in this situation. Especially if the parent and the child have had fruitful conversations about being wise, how to avoid trickery. All of this might have this young woman call home and run this opportunity past her parents. Unlike most college students, she might respect having a relationship where she is still accountable to someone like her parents who want the best for her. But, chances are, this will not happen if all has been left in the unsaid. Then being accountable becomes vague, maybe nonexistent. How many college students live their private lives as though they are responsible to someone and would be willing to tell their parents and/or grandparents, for instance, how they are conducting themselves? The answer to that would probably tell us what kind of relationship to those people and expectation is already in place.
So she showed up and started working. David now had this young woman just where he wanted her. He was her trusted employer and he would make sure she was paid well. Secondly, she was now going to be getting used to other women dancing in the nude. After a month or so, this would no longer be shocking but begin to seem pretty normal. She was being desensitized. Gradually she was going to find herself being influenced by the atmosphere and culture of the club. Her inner perspectives were being shifted by the daily encounter and routine of being there so much of the time. All of this was happening without her even realizing the transformation taking place in her. Women taking their clothes off was no longer a big deal. Along with that, he would have the dancers, the bouncers and other employees treating her like a queen. In the practice of the cults, this is called “Love-bombing”. He would also give her long hours so her major relationships would be at the club and not at her college. So the club provided her with her primary community.
Adding on to all this was another factor in David’s favor. A 19 or 20 year old female (or male) still has some years to go before the pre-frontal cortex of their brain is fully developed. This means their ability to notice and judge a situation for what is happening is still limited. A researcher at the University of Minnesota says they still do not have the wherewithal to say, “On second thought”. In other words it might well be harder for
a young woman at this age to discern and sort out that the initial appeal of making lots of money needs to be countered by the potential risk she is taking on by working in such an environment. But that would take seeing through something that is presenting itself as positive. That probably would take more maturing of the brain than she would have at her disposal at her age.
Secondly, brain development researchers have discovered that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain in its immature state does not offer adequate consequential thinking. So, in this case the young student is probably not going to ask herself, “Where is this leading, what kind of consequences could come out of such a job as this down the road? What am I getting myself into?” A mature adult has a better chance of making decisions based on two questions: “What is the cost to me if I go ahead with this?” and “What is the payoff for me if I go ahead?” So, if a strip club manager like David can provide the incentive for her to have a positive response to his initial affirmation, chances are the young lady will not think seriously of what aftermath might ensue once she takes the job.
Putting all these pieces of the puzzle together, we can see, can’t we, that such a person as David is going to win almost every time? Unbeknown to this certain young woman and her family, there is a set-up brewing for which none of them have considered or prepared for. In other words, nice, moral, well-behaved and even a Christ follower as she might be, she still has very little chance to escape the evil planned for her with such a camouflaged trap. This is the kind of circumstance for which she and probably her parents have even considered would ever come up. Her morals, her values are being eroded, unraveled as she works in the club. Frankly, she is a sitting duck, fair game, totally unprepared and ill-equipped for the game being played on her. (If one of our daughters ever would become entrapped like this, it might embarrass us parents and congregations when we thought nothing of the kind could happen to one of our own. We might come to recognize how little we ever did to prepare our daughter for such an under-the-radar kind of scheme as this is.)
So, now working in the club, she gets to know some of the workers as friends, is treated with respect by her manager, starts making a lot of money, possibly begins to depend on a regular check. This feels pretty good. Maybe some of that money starts paying off her loans, buys her some clothes, raises her sights as to what making good money can bring her. At this point the manager knows it is his time to make his decisive move. David is like a shark which smells blood in the water. It is time to attack.
One strategy is to gain a special favor from her. By now she is not only David’s employee but also he is like a friend. So he takes her out to lunch and pays the bill. Here we have a favorite ploy of connivers. Develop some sense of obligation. I did something for you. How about you doing something for me? Of course, he doesn’t say that but he knows her feeling the need for some kind of payback is now in order. So he makes his proposal, really a request. “Tonight is amateur night and I need another body up there on stage. You don’t have to take your clothes off or anything, but if you would willing to get up there, I would really appreciate it.” Now what is this responsible young woman going to do? Is she in any position to refuse her boss, her friend? He has always had her best interests at heart. Yes, it is catching her off guard but she doesn’t know what to say. She is not ready to risk losing her job. Besides he is asking in a nice way for her to accommodate him just this once. What she doesn’t realize is how vulnerable she will be in carrying out his request. After all, she is going to be doing this in a strip club where customers come and pay to see young women take their clothes off. This is not as innocent as he has made it sound.
David knows the drill. When she gets up there either the customers or the other dancers will talk her out of her clothes. That is just the way it works. And when that happens, this new dancer is going to go home and be upset because of how she exposed herself.
She is very apt to begin to self-medicate. The chemicals will feel good and bring her relief. They will also be needed and used in the future as well. She is now caught in the trap that has been set for her all along. She never saw it coming and will have a hard time explaining to anyone how it is that she is now stripping. Because once she starts she will not be stopping. From now on she will be, to say it positively, an exotic dancer as her way of making a living. As far as she is concerned it is all back on her. She chose to do this. David has worked his strategy to perfection and in her mind, he bears no responsibility for what happened. It was her decision, right?
There was also a second strategy for getting a waitress or disk jockey or bartender to take this major second step into being a dancer. Once she is used to having a lucrative job and depending on the money, possibly buying a car or getting an apartment, the hammer comes down. Her position is no longer needed. There will be no more paychecks, no more money to support her new lifestyle. She is being fired. But, of course, it doesn’t have to end this way. She could take up dancing instead and that pays even more money. Why wouldn’t she just transition into dancing? That way she would not have to give up anything, her car, her apartment, her friends at work, basically her new way of life. Why give up the familiar when it is working? Besides she has now been acclimated to the club’s atmosphere and other women taking their clothes off seems normal. Confronted by all these looming realities, how easy would it be to just stay put? But, of course, as she will discover, once she has crossed that line, there is basically no turning back.
What we have happening here is the prime ploy of the sex industry or we could call it the way human trafficking works. It is for all accounts and purposes the key factor needed to torpedo young lives. We can call it “getting-your-foot-in-the-door”. This metaphor helps us understand what happens to many young people. Think of it this way. A person comes up to a front door and rings the doorbell. Inside, Jane hears the doorbell and runs to answer the door. But Jane is a little skeptical so she just opens the door a crack. The person outside gives a warm greeting. “Hi, my name is Bill and I am doing a survey for the school district. Could you give me 2 minutes of your time? I would really appreciate it. Just two minutes.”
As Jane is thinking about it, she becomes aware that Bill just slid his pointed toe into the crack in the door. She cannot shut the door now even if she wanted to. Suddenly Jane finds herself in a helpless position. By opening the door even barely enough to be able to see Bill, Jane has now found herself at Bill’s mercy. If she tries to run to the phone, he will be able to swing the door open and catch her before she is able to make a call. What she thought would keep her safe, just barely opening the door now turns out to be an irretrievable move on her part. She has lost all power to protect herself.
Now at first we might not see the connection between what Jane did and what the young woman did who decided to waitress at the strip club. It all looks very different. However, in reality what has happened is they have given over the control to the other person, to the person at the door, to David at the strip club. Their chance of regaining any semblance of control is very slim. What chance do you have if you slip on the ice, your feet are way off the ground and you are in free fall? This, it turns out, is the reality that comes into play here, a reality they never foresaw. Yes, the new waitress might think to herself that she can quit anytime but basically that is simply unrealistic. Why? Because in that first month or so, she will find no reason to quit. At the end of that time, all of the mind control techniques she is facing will have done their job. A foot is in the doorway of her life and she is only kidding herself if she thinks she is still in control.
It is important to observe what is going on in the minds and hearts of schemers. Once they are in the mindset of carrying out the targeted objective of their strategy, they lose the ability to care. We see this in II Samuel 11. When King David hears that Bathsheba,
the woman he had sex with is pregnant, his mind goes immediately to how he can make this seem like it was her husband, Uriah, who impregnated her. Nothing else seems to matter to this godly king except finding a way to solve his dilemma. He thinks he must exonerate himself at all costs. So he brings Uriah back from the battlefield hoping he will go have sex his wife and then think he is the father. He is very friendly and pretends concern for Uriah. However, when Uriah does not go home to his wife as David desperately desires, finally David sends him back to the battlefield with a letter telling his general to put Uriah in the very front lines where he is sure to be killed. Here is the point. No matter how much a schemer fakes love, concern, helpfulness, it is all a sham. When one is scheming like this, there can be actually no care for the victim. The welfare of the victim is no longer considered. When a person is seeking to take advantage of another person, any concern for their future welfare gets blacked out. Jesus states this very succinctly when he admonishes us in Matthew 18:10 “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.” Con artistry and true love are never found in the same package.
So what happens if a young woman becomes a dancer? She now finds herself in the position of attracting money from customers. So David and his team of co-conspirators train her to manipulate the customers as she herself has been manipulated. She now must assert herself, sell herself with attentiveness to the customers as though she really likes them. To make money she needs to please them. This is going to get them to spend more money, buy more drinks, maybe even reach a point of thinking this young woman is the customer’s girlfriend. She is putting herself forward and showing real interest but it is all a part of the game, the fantasy she is creating. The customer will become enthralled, maybe even want to marry the woman. But what will happen if that customer’s money dries up? It will terminate their relationship completely because the young woman knows the whole relationship was based on money and manipulation, not on actual caring. This is a dog-eat-dog world. True intimacy and caring have no part in it. All feelings of compassion and concern have to be left behind.
So, in reality no one is now looked up as human. Rather they are pawns. Several of these women strippers lived in a second story apartment in Minneapolis. They asked some of the bouncers in the club to come over and help them move. When the bouncers got up to their apartment, one of them opened the window, then picked up a box of dishes and dropped it many feet down to the ground. How is anyone going to develop any respect for each other in the manipulative atmosphere described? People become hardened, deceitful, manipulative, unable to take in what love is all about.
What David has done is turn a young woman into a gold-digger. Now she is further into the trap than ever. Every time she goes to work, she will have to psych herself up to once again be ready to manipulate, act the part, create the fantasy and deceive herself into thinking this is her career and the best way for her to make money. Every day she is being dehumanized that much further from what God intended her to be. By setting all these processes of depersonalizing a female woman, David, himself, is undermining his own humanity. He is caught in the cycle of deceiving and hurting others as he deceives himself into thinking this is somehow a legitimate way to live. When he goes to buy groceries, he might turn on a Christian radio station completely disconnecting what is going on in the club from what he might regard as good on the outside. It is this kind of disconnect that has such a hold on him. It is like a person who is underwater somehow kidding himself that he can still breathe there. Any sense of true reality has been hijacked. Satan has taken over. Deception and self-deception now rule.
But as we are seeing, sadly it is not just the dancer’s life and David’s life that are being misled and undermined. It is also the customer’s life. Let’s face it. Most customers at strip clubs never think they are supporting human trafficking. For them, in most cases, they are participating in a financial arrangement where they are paying to be entertained just like one pays to go to a concert, a game, or a play. Hey, the dancer is making money, the club is making money and the customer is paying so everyone is satisfied with what is happening, aren’t they? What they don’t realize is they are participating in a drama of destruction that is taking place, including the manipulation of not only others but of their lives. They are being used with mind control techniques to spend more money, jeopardizing their relationship; to their family or future family. What started as “too good to be true ” is now beginning to be a habit built on denial, deceit and lust. In a word, they have been “hoodwinked” by a treacherous fantasy world that is captivating their lives.
We have surely seen this before in the 1930’s with Adolph Hitler and the Nazis as they seduced the German people with their message of having Germany be strong and respected again. In the process, most Germans were willing to overlook what was happening to their Jewish neighbors. After all, the economy was doing better and they were getting longer vacations. This is all good, isn’t it? Well, let’s look at the outcome. Here are a few figures that probably are near the truth. German military had 4.3 million dead or missing at the end of the war. Russians killed or missing were over 26 million people. Between 5 and 6 million Jews were killed in the holocaust. Once evil gets its grip, it doesn’t let go.
That is true of the parents and family of this young woman. They are going to realize this is not the daughter or sister they have known and loved. Some serious change has happened in her life. She might not see it herself for she does not really understand what has happened to her and sees little reason to get help. Some of her humanity has been extinguished. She does not receive love that easily any more. How she relates to family is through manipulation. The family finds itself like walking on egg shells. Normal interactions are hard to come by. Plus it is really hard for her to be around and comfortable with family members. An invisible wall has been built up but nobody understands exactly how it got there. Fear and anger operate at unseen levels. Empathy, for the most part, has disappeared. The family is in a world of hurt and so is their young dancer whether she knows it or not.
Unforeseen and tragic consequences keep coming. What started out as the recruitment of a young woman has now expanded out to affect everyone involved pulling them in like quicksand. As the club flourishes, the secondary effects are felt in the debilitating decay of the community around it, the influence it has on property values, law enforcement, family breakdown, compromised politicians and media. For instance, if a newspaper planned to publish a negative article against his club, David would just hand them $50,000 under the table and they would not publish that article. If we examine the culture of modern America and what each of us are dealing with everyday versus what we find to be the truth in Jesus, what do we discover?
David Sherman and the approach he had as a strip club manager gives us some ability to notice how subtle, sophisticated evil works. So when we see how this process plays out in a young woman’s life and in the lives around her, we can well ask ourselves some questions that can help us examine what and how we deal with opportunities such as this that might take us down a destructive road.

Questions to Ask:

  1. Are we evaluating this opportunity from the point of view “is this too good to be true”? Measuring any opportunity by this standard is a wise practice to help us discern what is really going on?
  2. Is my intuition telling me there are some red flags here? Am I listening to my intuition?
  3. What is being stated up front about the long term effects of this venture? Is this being presented and identified or is the eventual outcome or consequences not being addressed?
  4. Am I being taken in by a person or appeal where I need to examine the motivations of the person or appealing group for how much they care about me versus how much they simply want to satisfy a goal of their own?
  5. Just because the initial action that I will take will lead to a positive result, is there any guarantee, the latter influences I will have to deal with will continue to be positive?
  6. How much of my time and commitments will be devoted to what is being proposed? Will I actually have some control over that?
  7. Am I letting my pride “I can handle this just fine” direct my choices here?
  8. Does this opportunity fit into who I say I am in Christ, as a baptized child of God, or am I stepping away from my own identity to become someone who is controlled by another person or fantasy?
  9. Who really cares about me and has my best interests at heart? Am I ready to listen to their perspective and input as those who know me, love me and want the best for me?
  10. Am I engaging with someone whose bottom line is making money and if they are not making money off me, will they be ready to ditch me at a moment’s notice?
  11. Who is holding accountable the people who are proposing something to me and what exactly does that accountability look like?
  12. When encountering a circumstance which appears on the front end to be such a godsend out of the blue, am I willing to weigh this before the Lord and also consult with wise people and Christian counsel before moving ahead?
  13. Have I really checked out what I am getting into doing my due diligence with outside parties and also with people already living within the reality that I might be taking on? Am I pressing in to confirm what I am undertaking?
  14. Am I acting on impulse or peer pressure in making my decisions or is my faith giving me the courage and wisdom to say “No” if that is the wisest step to take?
  15. Have I prayed about this and asked the Lord for guidance? As a disciple of Jesus, loved and accepted by Jesus, forgiven and cared for, am I willing to pray as Jesus did, “Your will be done, Lord, not my will. Show me the road you would have me take & give me the strength to take it.”
  16. Satan attacks when a person is particularly vulnerable and needy. This was the state Jesus was in after he had fasted 40 days and was hungry. It was then Satan offers him the opportunity to turn a stone into bread. We are especially vulnerable when we have a need, when we are lonely, need friendship, money, are tired, depressed, feeling rejected, unloved. Do we allow awareness of that awaken us to what might be presenting itself?
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