What is ETG?


about psychological coercion




a life

What is Ending The Game?

Ending The Game© (ETG)  is a first-of-its-kind “coercion resiliency” curriculum that reduces feelings of attachment to traffickers and/or a lifestyle characterized by commercial sexual exploitation, thereby reducing the rate of recidivism among sex trafficking survivors.

Ending The Game is designed to educate and empower survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking by providing a structure and framework to uncover harmful psychological coercion (a.k.a. “The Game”) that victims may have been subjected to during or before their exploitation experience.

By revealing a sequence of commonly-used, yet seldom-explained, mind control techniques used by traffickers, sexual abusers, media and other coercive agents, we aim to empower victims to acquire skills and end “The Game.”

ETG commercial sexual exploitation intervention curriculum at a glance

10 core lesson plans available in three formats: 2-hour group class; 1-hour group class; flexible 1-on-1 session

Survivor-created and survivor-informed

Facilitates experiential learning through activities, guided reflection and meaningful homework assignments

Sparks intrinsic motivation to leave a trafficker and/or “the game”

Caters to of a variety of learning styles including visual, tactile and auditory

Suitable for participants who may not be strong readers

Full of excellent resources and easy to follow lesson plans

Video Preview: Survivors talk about how they are Ending The Game

ETG changes lives: actual comments from ETG participants

[This class] made me realize a lot about my whole experience in “the life.” It brought out a lot of hidden emotions and suppressed memories. Which helped me therapeutically. My favorite [activity] was, inside the box we had to put the person we were in the life and outside of the box we put the “real me”. For example, inside the box I put things like “No crying, laughing, or showing any emotion, speak when spoken to, short skirts, thongs, loyalty, and closed legs don’t get fed.” On the outside I put, “I’m emotional, I belong to nobody but God, I’m strong, I speak my mind, I love to read and listen to music and I love to laugh.” It was these types of things that really helped me find myself and brought me back to reality that I’m not what I used to do and I’m not who he made me to be.

15-year-old sex trafficking victim

Los Angeles, CA

My feelings changed about my trafficker during the group. I’ve known him since I was 11 and I’m 16 now and he wasn’t just always my trafficker, he’s been there for me when no one else was so there’s always gonna be love for him in my heart. But after reading certain things from that one pimps book I definitely changed how I looked at him, and questioned what kind of man he really is. And also listening to the ETG survivors on the videos, and hearing their experiences with their pimps and stuff and doing the different homework activities overall just made me look at “the life” differently. And it made me see the bad things and how he had a big affect on my life. It definitely helped me to reflect on the scars he left me physically and mentally. And see that 10% of the time he was my superman saving me from bad situations but 90% he was the person putting me in those situations. And although I’m always gonna have love for him, I know he’s not a good person, he doesn’t have my best interest at heart and he took advantage of me and used me. And he’s less of a man in my eyes now because no real man puts a little girl out on the streets, no real man sells a little girl, no real man puts his hands on a girl and no real man forces a person to do anything they don’t want to.

16-year-old sex trafficking victim

Los Angeles, CA

Meet the authors behind Ending the Game

Steven Hassan

Steven has been involved in educating the public about mind control, controlling groups and destructive cults since 1976. As a survivor of the Moonies cult while in his early 20s, Steve knows from personal experience how overwhelmingly destructive mind control can be. Steve is founder of Freedom Of Mind Resource Center, Inc. and has written three books that have received extensive praise from former cult members, families of former members, clergy, cult experts, and psychologists including Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults & Beliefs (2013). As an expert on cults, cult counselor and mental health professional, Steve has been featured in media including 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Dateline, Oprah, and CNN Anderson Cooper.


Carissa Phelps
JD/MBA, CEO of Runaway Girl, FPC (RG)

Carissa is a licensed attorney, who advocates for victims’ rights. Carissa’s memoir, Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets (Viking 2012), is used by instructors in juvenile detention facilities, as well as professors of social work in graduate level courses. In her memoir, Carissa shares how the unexpected kindness of a math teacher and a counselor transformed her life and helped her to believe in her own potential. With ETG, Carissa aims to give a greater number of survivors and victims a similar opportunity.


Rachel Thomas
M.Ed., Founder of Sowers Education Group

Rachel is a former high school teacher and corporate trainer with over 10 years’ experience in curriculum writing, training and teaching. Rachel’s own experience with sex trafficking, coupled with her passion for education, led her to start Sowers, an organization purposed to sow seeds of awareness and empowerment to end human trafficking. Sowers will develop a series of sexual exploitation recovery curricula, to be used by schools, churches, parents, and service providers throughout the nation. Since it’s inception in 2012, Rachel has reached over 50,000 live audience members and millions more through numerous media outlets including New Day Morning Show on CNN, Inside with Chris Cuomo: Anyone’s Daughter on HLN, The T.D. Jakes Show, The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers.


Who is ETG Supporter Training for?

  • All staff at survivor housing facilities
  • Mentors and church volunteers
  • Attorneys and legal advocates
  • Law enforcement
  • First responders
  • SART Nurses
  • FFAs
  • Family members of survivors

Request supporter training

We train service providers, survivor-leaders and family members to understand psychological coercion in trafficking and ways to help victims overcome it.

* You will leave this site and will be directed to the booking page on SowersEducationGroup.com

Learn more about Sex Trafficking Intervention

Join the Fight with ETG against sex trafficking

Over the last decade, thousands of domestic sex trafficking victims have been identified and offered services.[1] Though there is little evidence-based research on the mental health treatment of victims of human trafficking[2], one disturbing trend cannot be ignored: “(Victims) are usually extremely loyal to their trafficker. Oftentimes they do not self-identify as victims and do not actively seek escape….The power of psychological bonds is very strong.”[3] To date, most traditional interventions and therapeutic responses do not address this apparent attachment to traffickers, as well as the connection a victim may feel to a lifestyle characterized by sexual exploitation. Thus, the underlying cause remains hidden, or is never addressed.

The crime of sex trafficking is defined as “causing a person to engage in commercial sex acts by use of force, fraud or coercion.”[4] Though usually presented together there is a difference between force, fraud and coercion. Force is generally an overt act, and while fraud manipulates surface beliefs, coercion manipulates core beliefs.[5] Coercion is invisible, intended to elude even the victim. Despite coercion being unseen, it is the key to understanding the lingering attachment to a trafficker or to a life characterized by commercial sexual exploitation.

Whether resolute to return, wavering in ambivalence, or desperately trying to suppress a desire to return, many victims experience some level of attachment to traffickers and/or “the game.”[6] It is a troubling and perplexing reality that many victims feel powerless to combat. However, in our current system of care, once there has been a physical separation from a trafficker, we place the burden on victims to make use of services on their own, without guidance or a clear understanding of what mind control is, and why they may feel an urge to return to the person/s who have victimized them.

[1] The Polaris Project (2012). Shelter beds for human trafficking survivors in the United States. Washington, DC
[2] US Dept. of Health and Human Services (2010). Evidence-based mental health treatment for victims of human trafficking. Washington, DC
[3] Quote from Craig Williams, Senior Agent, Oklahoma Human Trafficking Unit in “Facts and Fiction of Human Trafficking in Oklahoma” The Daily Ardmoreite. 16 Dec. 2013
[4] 22 U.S.C. § 7102(8)(A).
[5] Hassan, Steve. (1988) Combatting Cult Mind Control
[6] Pimpin’ Ken., & Hunter, K. (2008). Pimpology: The 48 laws of the game. Simon & Schuster.

For more information on Ending The Game © please email Office@SowersEducationGroup.com.