It can’t happen here.
Those kinds of things happen in third world countries.
There is just no way our government would let this happen.
We are talking about child trafficking, and there are cases in all 50 states. According to U.S. government estimates, thousands of children are trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation every year. These numbers are astounding and in order to stop this, attention must be drawn to the problem. No person, or child for that matter, should ever have to experience this torture.
Due to their vulnerability and gullibility, children are the primary targets of many sex traffickers. There is also a great deal of demand for young victims – some victims are only in grade school. It is our job to protect children from such predators. The first step in doing this is to be able to identify a victim of human trafficking. The following list was provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Has unexplained absences from school for a period of time, and is therefore a truant
- Demonstrates an inability to attend school on a regular basis
- Chronically runs away from home
- Makes references to frequent travel to other cities
- Exhibits bruises or other physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression, or fear
- Lacks control over her or his schedule or identification documents
- Is hungry, malnourished or inappropriately dressed (based on weather conditions or surroundings)
- Shows signs of drug addiction
Additional signs that may indicate sex-related trafficking include:
- Demonstrates a sudden change in attire, behavior, or material possessions (e.g., has expensive items)
- Makes references to sexual situations that are beyond age-specific norms
- Has a “boyfriend” who is noticeably older (10+ years)
- Makes references to terminology of the commercial sex industry that are beyond age specific norms; engages in promiscuous behavior and may be labeled “fast” by peers
The next step is to report suspected human trafficking to the appropriate authorities. There are a number of resources:
- Local police department
- Human Trafficking Resource Center – 1-888-373-7888
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – 1-800-THE-LOST
The United States is a great and powerful nation and we need to keep our children safe. Do your part to bring attention to this issue. The more people that know, the better chance we have of stopping child trafficking. To learn more read the entire Human Trafficking Fact Sheet created by the U.S. Department of Education.