Child Sex Trafficking–The Most Dangerous Myth and 3 Ways to Keep Your Kid Safe
If you have kids in your life, you should give some thought to the dangers and suffering brought on by domestic minor sex trafficking (child sex trafficking). Give us a few minutes and we’ll bust a dangerous myth and bring you up to speed!
Stats on child sex trafficking
First, check out these stats to understand the scope of the situation:
- 12-13 years–average age of entry into sex trafficking in the United States
- 100,000+ American children–being exploited through the commercial sex industry each year
- $99 Billion–the amount of money the sex trafficking industry brings in every year
- 7 years-the life expectancy of sex-trafficked victims if they don’t get rescued
- 1 in 6-the number of endangered runaways likely to be sex trafficking victims
- 50%-the percentage of sex trafficking victims who are male
- 3 out of 4-the ratio of sex trafficking victims who answered a survey who said they were advertised or sold online
- 8 days-the average time from first interaction that it takes for an online predator to convince a minor to meet up in person
The most dangerous myth about human trafficking
One of the most dangerous myths we want to dispel is that human trafficking always or often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation. Actually, most human traffickers use psychological strategies to manipulate their victims into trafficking.
And it’s so easy to do this online–often while victims remain in their own homes–while their parents are completely unaware.
Russ Tuttle from the Stop Trafficking Project says, “Human trafficking, especially domestic minor sex trafficking, can be simplified as the exploitation of vulnerability.”
Russ lives and works in the heartland of America and knows that sex trafficking is a plague in both rural and urban communities alike.
And who’s more vulnerable than a kid online?
So what can we do about it? Here are 3 actions you can take to help you empower and defend the kids in your life starting today!
3 Actions to defend kids against sex trafficking:
1. Educate yourself.
Learn what sex trafficking looks like now. What are the signs? What should I do if I notice these signs? Here are some resources to help you learn about trafficking tactics and prevention strategies:
- The Shocking Tactics Sex Traffickers Use to Trap Your Kids and 5 Ways You Can Protect Them
- Thinking “Not My Child!” Won’t Protect Your Kids from Sex Trafficking: Here are 3 Ways that Work
- Stop Trafficking Project
- The National Center on Sexual Exploitation
2. Identify the vulnerabilities.
Think about the kids in your own life. Talk with them. What are their vulnerabilities? The simple fact of being a minor online makes them vulnerable. What else? Are they struggling in school? Feeling lonely? Experiencing a tough situation at home? Identify those vulnerabilities so you know where best to defend against exploitation.
3. Talk with your kids.
Share what you’ve learned with your kids. Have open discussions about the ways in which traffickers target kids. Work together to set rules and boundaries for online interactions.
Remember to talk with your kids about pornography early and often. Pornography is often used to groom and blackmail victims. Kids who know how to reject pornography have an added layer of protection against trafficking.
When we educate ourselves on child sex trafficking, identify vulnerabilities in the children in our own lives, and talk with kids about the ways in which traffickers target them we empower kids to take an active role in defending themselves against traffickers
Brain Defense: Digital Safety Curriculum - Family Edition
"Parents are desperate for concepts and language like this to help their children. They would benefit so much from this program - and I think it would spur much needed conversations between parents and children.” --Jenet Erikson, parent