Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking, otherwise known as modern-day slavery. You see, slavery never died, it just took on a new face.
Sex trafficking, forced labor, and debt bondage are the three most common types of human trafficking. Nearly 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Eighty percent are female and half are children. And while there are stories of human trafficking victims in places like China and Russia, human trafficking takes place in the United States. The average age of girls trafficked in the U.S. is 12 – 14 years old.
Statistics on human trafficking
Polaris is an activist group that monitors human trafficking. In 2016, Polaris reported learning about 8,000 cases of human trafficking in the U.S., an increase of 35 percent from 2015. Since 2005, nearly 32,000 total cases have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
As a parent or caregiver, its important help your child learn how to avoid being lured into sex trafficking. Some of the common patterns include:
- A promise of a good job in another country
- A false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation
- Being sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, boyfriends
- Being kidnapped by traffickers
Talk leads to change
It’s important to tell children that sex traffickers like to prey on victims Online. Encourage them to make these changes:
1. Change privacy settings on Facebook. To change privacy settings:
- Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings.
- In the left column, click Timeline and Tagging.
- Look for the setting ‘Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline?’ and click Edit to the far right.
- Select Enabled from the dropdown menu.
2. Block Trafficker/Trafficker’s Acquaintances.
Using the Facebook app privacy settings can be changed. To change privacy settings on social media hover over the Friends button and choose “Acquaintances”. Look for an icon next to the word “Friends”, which indicates that this friend is on your Acquaintances list. (Mobile version).
3. Block Traffickers
You can encourage youth to block their trafficker and ”Unfriending”/”Unfollowing” all of their trafficker’s friends or mutual friends they cannot trust. Also, avoid providing unnecessary information about their daily activities on social media networks.
Teach children to be aware of their surroundings
Traffickers frequent malls, bus stations, and social media to lure victims. Traffickers will try to isolate children and make them feel secure. Traffickers will also try to children leave their family or friends, but they’re are really manipulators.
Discussion on sex trafficking leads to action and multilevel change. If you see a trafficker call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-8888, or
text HELP to: BeFree (233733).