What is Human Trafficking? Child trafficking is the enslavement of children by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sexual or labor exploitation. Children are trafficked for use in sex industries such as prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and forced marriages. They are also used for domestic work, sweatshop work, migrant farming, begging and armed services.
Often trafficking victims have experienced victimization in the past, and many times this has been inflicted by individuals close to the victim. Do you trust the people with whom your child interacts? Knowing whom your children are with at all times is crucial to protecting their safety.
When your child is online, do you know what sites they are visiting and with whom they are communicating? Taking the time to monitor what your children do and who they are interacting with on the Internet is VERY important step in keeping your child safer. If something does not seem right, ask questions!
Some signs and vulnerabilities to look for:
National Human Trafficking Hotline
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking
Pasco County Sheriff’s Office
FOCUS ON PREVENTION
With Young Children
Teach basic facts young children need to be safe: their and their parents’ full names, home address, phone numbers, how and when to call 911, and 3 trusted adults hey can call if they feel scared.
Write this information down and keep it where your child can access it (i.e., on the refrigerator).
With Children Starting School
Create and practice “what-if” situations like if your child became lost, or when a stranger knocks on the door.
Visit your child’s route to and from school and point out dangerous areas to be avoided, and safe places to go if they feel scared. Encourage your children to walk with friends. Be sure they know to never accept a ride from a stranger.
Teach them that if anyone tries to grab or touch them in a way they don’t want, they should resist by kicking, screaming, running away, and drawing attention from others. They need to know it’s okay to ask law enforcement and school security guards for help.
Discuss what social media profiles they can create and what information is safe to publicly share. Talk about proper and improper photos and comments, and explain why. Be sure they understand NOTHING is completely deleted from the internet.
Have login information for all social media profiles your child is using. Often times there is communication on social media prior to a child being trafficked. Time can be saved by having this information to provide to the responding agency.