Do you remember your school history lessons? If you were excited to study facts about ancient Egypt, Greece, and Africa, you might recollect their outstanding architecture, unique traditions, and… slavery.
Most people heard about human trafficking from TV shows and movies. They might also think that sexual abuse occurs only in the physical world. However, the danger has spread into the digital environment, too.
This problem has become so terrifying and widespread in the United States that the Senate established National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Starting from 2007, the event is recognized annually on January 11.
This date is also known as Child Trafficking Awareness Day. Its purpose is to bring attention to modern slavery and child human trafficking and prevent kids, teens, and adults from being abused in real life and online.
Table Of Contents
What Is Child Trafficking?
Child trafficking is the so-called recruitment, mostly against a victim’s will, of underaged children. The purpose of trafficking is sexual exploitation that involves selling a victim’s body for money.
Child sex trafficking is an absolute violation of their rights that makes a substantial negative impact on their physical and mental health and well-being.
Although the risk factors for trafficking are poverty and discrimination, sexual abuse can happen in any family or country.
Child Trafficking In the US: Sexual Abuse in Numbers
Although people tend to believe that child trafficking mostly occurs in underdeveloped countries, cases of sexual abuse were reported in all 50 U.S. states.
Did you know that the United States is a transit country for human smuggling? What’s more, it’s one of the top destinations for victims of trafficking.
Finally, millions of online predators surf the web daily and seek kids for sexual abuse. So, parents may not know their well-raised and beloved child is a victim.
Here are more child trafficking statistics that can raise awareness about this problem:
- 77% of trafficking victims are abused in their countries of residence (according to the U.S. Department of State 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report);
- 25% increase in human trafficking was noticed from 2017 to 2018;
- Most victims of trafficking in the U.S. are its citizens;
- 1 in 7 runaway cases reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2018 was likely because of child recruiting for sex trafficking.
Warning Signs That Tell a Child Is Sexually Trafficked
If you notice a kid who behaves weirdly or your child’s behavior has recently changed, this can be a sign of exploitation.
Victims of sex trafficking or predator abuse can exhibit these characteristics:
- Being frightened and avoiding direct eye contact;
- Being afraid of law-related establishments;
- Having no idea about their whereabouts, including country and city;
- Looking depressed or neurotic;
- In rarest cases, victims can overexpress their sexual behavior;
- Lying about their real names and age and giving memorized answers to common questions;
- Wearing weird tattoos that look like “branding”;
- Having no money or personal belongings;
- Losing sense of time;
- Exhibiting scars, bruises, or welts;
- Refusing to show documents (as they might not have their ID or driving license).
If you notice any of the signs of sexual abuse listed earlier and suspect that a child or adult is being trafficked in the U.S., consider contacting the National Human Trafficking Resource Center by dialing 1-888-373-7888.
How to Stop Child Trafficking: Things You Can Do Today
Many parents might be helpless to rescue other kids from slavery and stop child trafficking in another part of the world. However, they can make an effort to prevent their children from being exploited.
Here are a few ways to stop child trafficking in your family:
- Talk to your children about real cases of sexual abuse. Note that they can talk to you about anything, even exploitation. Remind them that no kid has to bear abuse all alone and parents are always there to help.
- Show your love and support, even in the most challenging time. It’s important for kids (especially teens) to realize they are loved and respected.
- Know your kid’s friends and classmates. If you consider someone suspicious, learn more about them. In case they pose a potential danger, prevent your kid from meeting them too often.
- Find out your kid’s favorite places to visit and consider using a GPS tracker. Take advantage of a parental control app, such as mSpy, to get details about your kid’s whereabouts.
- Learn to use social media. As your kid can easily befriend an online predator or trafficker, consider monitoring your child’s social media activity. The app, as noted earlier, can help you.
- Don’t judge your kids for their decisions, and tell them more about your personal life experience. Recollect cases when you needed help and offer it to your children.
A Life of a Child Is Worth Your Efforts
Overcoming the consequences of sexual abuse doesn’t happen quickly, as kids are incredibly fragile. It’s traumatic and heartbreaking to realize oneself as a victim of exploitation. So, every parent needs to be aware of trafficking and consider preventing a kid from getting into trouble.
If you’re not sure that your child is safe, both online and offline, find some time to know more about their lives, interests, and surroundings. Do what it takes: spend more time together, monitor their online activity, or even move locations.
Whatever your plan is, the effort is worth your kid’s well-being, balanced personality, and mental development. Stay safe and safeguard your family.