Please visit our new site for up-to-date information and news.



ENDING THE GAME (ETG), the 1st SEX TRAFFICKING INTERVENTION CURRICULUM in the nation is available now! Steven Hassan worked extensively with Rachel Thomas, Carissa Phelps, and D'Lita Miller to put together this revolutionary program for survivors and victims of Human Trafficking. 

Help Us Spread The Word!

Please Tweet, Share, and Let everyone know about this groundbreaking program!


What is Human Trafficking?

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines Human Trafficking as:

"Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs."


When someone says Human Trafficking, they think sex trafficking, but in actuality it alsomeans labor trafficking. Labor trafficking is further split into bonded labor, forced labor, and child labor. Forced labor, or involuntary servitude, is work or services provided under the threat of violence or punishment. It is one of the most common types of labor and often associated with slavery. Bonded labor is when an individual is paying off a debt or a loan through their work. Child labor is using children as cheap free labor in places such as factories

Left: Steven Hassan at The ICSA Conference in Washington D.C. July 5th, 2014 discussing Human Trafficking as a Commercial Cult Mind Control Phenomenon


Sex trafficking refers to when a person is coerced or deceived into prostitution or kept in prostitution through pressure or force. Often those targeted are vulnerable and come from a history of abuse or are runaways. The pimp or trafficker wants someone who will align with his or her rules, someone that can be viewed as an asset not a liability. They look for easy ways to break a person, seeking nothing less than to create a dependent, willing, and obedient slave. With their minds controlled in such a way, the victim may appear to be an active participant in their suffrage for the profit of the pimp; however mind control does not erase the person’s old identity but rather creates a new obedient one to suppress the original self.



The trafficker controls the environment, access to information, relationships – every aspect of a person’s life. Many people think of mind control as an ambiguous, mystical process that comes out of science fiction.  In reality, undue influence refers to a specific set of methods and techniques that manipulates how a person thinks, feels and acts. 


Human Trafficking BITE Model

There are countless situations that can cause a person to be vulnerable to this kind of coercion and trickery such as:

  • Parents recently separated or divorced – the recruiter may describe the group as a “big happy family”
  • Chaotic home life; domestic violence
  • Death of a loved one, illness
  • Loss of a job
  • Graduation from high school or college
  • Moving to a new city, state, country
  • End of a perceived or real romantic relationship – confusing love with a need to be desired
  • Drug or alcohol problems
  • Unresolved sexual issues (sexual identity orientation, past rape or molestation trauma)
  • Pre-existing phobias
  • Other unresolved traumatic issues


Ending The Game ©


Ending The Game © is a ground-breaking “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 victims. To Learn more about the curriculum, click here.

The curriculum is designed to educate and empower commercial sex trafficking victims by providing a structure and framework to uncover harmful psychological coercion (aka “The Game”) that victims may have been subjected to during or before their trafficking 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.”

Bring Ending The Game, the 1st National Sex Trafficking Intervention Curriculum to your Organization! Click here to find out how you can bring the curriculum to your organization as well as understand the different options available. License ETG now!


Important Videos Resource Links

ICSA conference Washington D.C. July 5th 2014: Human Trafficking as a Commercial Cult Mind Control Phenomenon. Panelists include Rachel Thomas, Christine Katas, Christina Arnold, Kim Meyer, and Halleh Seddighzadeh.

1st Annual RIA Coffee House Concert Event (Steven Speaks at 1:06)

Human Trafficking Conference Jan. 10th, 2014 Steven Hassan Keynote Talk

CAST - Flor, Isabel and Steven Hassan August 3013

2014 NEO National Human Trafficking Day Conference Survival Panel Discussion with Steven Hassan

Ending The game Curriculum Now LIVE!

Author Carissa Phelps Shares Her Story of Perseverance in Runaway Girl

Human Trafficking Survivors Speak at University of Oregon

Human Trafficking Survivor: Shyima Hall Speaks Out

Iowa Survivor of Human Trafficking Speaks Out

Survivors of Human Trafficking speak at UN HUMAN RIGHTS

For The Record: Human Trafficking in the United States

Guidebook on Identification, Assessment, and Response in the Health Care Setting

Glossary of Trafficking Terms

National Human Trafficking Resource Center


Sex Trafficking Intervention: Ending The Game ©



Survivors For Solutions

How to Recognize a Sexually Exploited Youth

Timeline of Human Trafficking


Justice Resource Institute: My Life My Choice

Services Available To Victims of Human Trafficking








Upcoming Events





"We at My Life My Choice have been grateful for the opportunity to learn from Steven Hassan about mind control and its relevance to the trafficking field. As we learn new techniques to combat the debilitating effects of pimp control, Steven's wisdom as both a cult survivor and an expert in his field are invaluable."

Lisa Goldblatt Grace, LICSW, MPH
Co-Founder & Director
My Life My Choice
A Program of JRI


"Steven Hassan's book Freedom of Mind is especially valuable to those of us working in fields that are not yet understood as cults. I work in the field of trafficking for prostitution, in which survivors describe the same psychologically destructive social influences that Steven Hassan details in the book. To give a few examples: an extremely controlling leader (pimp or trafficker) who postures as omnipotent, coerced adherence to a worldview and values that turn one's previous values upside down, control and regulation of body functions, enforced dependence, degradation, coerced gratitude, sensory deprivation, capricious rules, traumatic bonding, and deliberate creation of dissociated parts of the self. Steven Hassan demystifies the complex manipulation and adverse influence of malignant groups in a way that clarifies and instills hope. The book is useful not only for advocates and survivors but for clinicians and attorneys who want to better understand and help their clients."

Melissa Farley, Ph.D., Executive Director
Prostitution Research & Education, San Francisco


"There is important and impactful  work to be done at the intersection of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Mind Control (Undue Influence). Steven Hassan is leading the way for people who work with exploited youth to apply the best of what he has pioneered in the study and application of Freedom of Mind. His dynamic nature and perspective as a cult survivor are priceless."

Beth Niernberg, LMHC
Clinical Director
My Life My Choice
A Program of JRI


"We were quite honored to have Steven Hassan as our keynote speaker at the 2014 National Human Trafficking Conference in Cleveland, OH. Mr.. Hassan shared The BITE Model of Mind Control applied to Trafficking which really gave all of the first responders and all of the conference attendees an understanding of how pimps and traffickers operate to take control of the victim’s behavior, intellect, thoughts and emotions which was invaluable information for those working to help restore the lives of victims of this heinous crime."


Renee Jones, President & CEO
Renee Jones Empowerment Center



“Steven Hassan has nearly 40 years of experience and knowledge that will advance our efforts to develop methods for breaking bonds held by human traffickers. Steven is a leader in the field of social psychology and his one-on-one work to replace destructive bonds with healthy long-term relationships, has the potential to improve responses to human trafficking rapidly and effectively. Steven's work goes far beyond physical removal of a victim from a perpetrator, empowering survivors to develop healthy memories and experiences in place of harmful and destructive thoughts and behaviors. We are proud to be in partnership with Steven and the team he has built at Freedom of Mind.”


Carissa Phelps, JD/MBA, 
Runaway Girl, FPC
CEO "Creating Employment Opportunities"




"I got my hands on this invaluable book, Combatting Cult Mind Control, when I met Steven at a Human Trafficking conference for FBI and Homeland Security. He was presenting on mind control and I was sharing my story as a survivor of Sex Trafficking. Listening to Steven from the audience, I was floored that 90% of the mind control techniques he outlined were exactly what my pimp had done to me. Yes I was physically abused and fearful of escaping, but I was also under some intense mind control. Now, having read this book (and underlining almost every paragraph) I can finally put a name to the techniques my pimp systematically indoctrinated me with (e.g. emotion control, double-bind, thought suppression, etc.). It's opened my eyes to a whole new way of understanding what was done to me and, more importantly, how to undo it! Knowledge truly is power. Thank you, Steve, for this power!"

Rachel Thomas
Sowers Education Group






Freedom of Mind is a courageous and powerful book that combines innovative theory with effective, practical applications to penetrate the often misunderstood and seemingly mysterious realm of cults, mind control, and other forms of psycho-spiritual slavery. Steven Hassan, whose late 80’s groundbreaking and essential text on cults, cult dynamics, and the extrication and recovery of people who have become ensnared in cults (Combatting Cult Mind Control), has clearly matured and evolved in his thinking and practice; he has gone on to produce another invaluable contribution to this still poorly understood area of human experience. Filled with deep compassion and wisdom, Freedom of Mind takes the reader on a journey through the mazes of pathological human influence, cult practices, and the patterns and beliefs that sustain various forms of psychological hostage/slavery behavior and dynamics. His book aims to assist people (and their families and friends -- helping in, and also benefiting from, the healing process in Hassan’s vision of healing) victimized in cults to understand and contextualize their experience in clearly stated universal principles. Hassan’s thorough and systematic presentation of intervention strategies and their underlying philosophy is truly impressive. He explains how to disentangle people (and help them disentangle themselves) from matrices of utter and complete personality destruction, where individuals have almost completely lost any sense of critical thinking, autonomy, or authentic personality functioning. Hassan’s deep understanding of the cult survivor’s problems of shame, loss of dignity, and attachment to ideologies and omnipotent authority figures offers a solid foundation for clinicians and, clergy, and family members and friends who are  approaching those victimized by extreme undue influence and groupthink. In a word, Hassan has covered all the bases and done so with a level of clarity and sophistication.

Unfortunately, cult dynamics and undue influence are still subjects that remain on the periphery of education in the mental health fields.  Because Hassan’s latest book significantly demystifies cult practices and delineates methods to support victims’ struggles to heal at an even deeper level than in his prior work, Freedom of Mind represents a rare and essential contribution to the field that should be required reading for all mental health professionals and clergy as well as lay people involved in various recovery programs. The book is both encyclopedic and yet completely accessible. It exposes in systematic detail the methods and madness of cults and the creative and relationally-oriented interventions required to help restore the cult victim to sanity, to dignity and freedom, and to resurrect his or her critical thinking capacities most which had become buried, dislocated and compartmentalized during the years of cult indoctrination and cult membership. Hassan’s work is actually translatable across a wide range of human hostage and malevolent group situations beyond mainstream and underground cults -- from pathological family systems, exploitative business and self-help/human potential movement groups, pimps/prostitution, human trafficking, criminal cartels, and to all past and modern day slavery situations. His compassionate approach underscores the value of human relationship, inclusivity, dialogue, patience, persistence, humor/creativity and non-dogmatic forms of intervention. His keen  savvy as a kind of warrior approaching these complex matters -- turning cult mind control upside down and forcing it to collapse in on itself -- is always balanced with tenderness, humor, and an appreciation for the irony buried in cult hypocrisy. While not shying away from articulating disturbing aspects of human nature and human group experience, Hassan reminds all of us  -- readers, healers, victims, survivors, theorists, philosophers, clergy – that in spite of the undeniable power and efficacy of cult strategies and systems, there remains an authentic self buried and protected at the core of all human beings regardless of the amount of time spent in the cult, regardless of how deeply and cruelly the participation in the worst of the group behavior might have been. I highly recommend this book not only for all the reasons outlined above, but because this book serves as a truly rare and powerful light on a still poorly illuminated region of our collective human experience where hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings remain trapped, helpless, and almost beyond reach. I wholeheartedly honor and celebrate Steven Hassan’s contributions and commitment to the universal struggle for freedom, human rights, and transparency in human social systems.

Dr. Harvey Schwartz, Ph.D.
Author of Dialogues With Forgotten Voices and The Alchemy of Wolves and Sheep


"Before anything significant had been published about the methods and effects of coercive influence and destructive cults, this book emerged and offered a unique and solid foundation for both lay people and professionals (from a wide array of disciplines) to begin comprehending the subtle and insidious tactics used by manipulative religious/spiritual, political, economic, and human potential cults to ensnare the unsuspecting in complex, seemingly inescapable webs. Using his own personal experience and mining his own fascinating journey from cult victim through escape and survivorship and eventually transformation and becoming a healer/consultant himself, Hassan explains in clear and cogent terms how coercive and manipulative leaders/groups create psychological and spiritual hostages out of vulnerable or well-intended, human beings -- people who are either going through painful life transitions or who are searching for higher truth. Early in my career this book was an invaluable resource to help me understand the nature of this unique type of victimization. Hassan's work inspired me, helping me create more effective pathways for healing for individuals emerging out of criminal and underground cults and trafficking situations. The book also enabled me to become a better consultant to other professionals at the time, since so little had been written in the professional clinical literature in the 1980s about mind control, coercive influence, and psychopathological groups. It seems to me that the value and significance of critical thinking and freedom of mind in our lives in general and in psychological health have not yet been fully understood or appreciated. On a mission to correct this gap in communal wisdom, Hassan leads the reader on a journey unveiling the universal emotional and psychological vulnerabilities that leave all of us human beings susceptible to undo influence and group takeovers of our minds, hearts, and spirits. In very accessible and clear language this book offers excellent analysis and guidance, hope for cult survivors and their families, as well as clinicians and clergy who may be part of the individual's healing and integration process. This classic work belongs in all mental health training curriculums and is a worthy addition to the libraries of anyone interested in the struggles for human rights and healing from the damage of oppressive and totalitarian systems."

Dr. Harvey Schwartz, Ph.D.

Author of Dialogues With Forgotten Voices and The Alchemy of Wolves and Sheep