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Protecting Your Child: Human Trafficking Part 2

Keeping Your Child Safe/Human Trafficking Part 2

We have already defined human trafficking in Part 1 of this article as:  “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons:  by the threat or use of kidnapping, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.”* We also have suggested ways to help keep your children safe as they use internet devices.  Now, let’s talk about other ways young people are seduced into human trafficking and the signs and symptoms of potential victims.  This will help you to discern any situations that need further investigation with your children or others.

Boyfriends, particularly older boyfriends (10 years or greater) may seduce young women into trafficking by telling them that they “love” the victim.  He may point out that the parent doesn’t like them or care for them as much as he does.  He invests a lot of time into the relationship making the victim dependent upon him.

Females in school may actually do some recruiting.  They may “sport” expensive items.  They may discuss how great their job is and the benefits of travel.

A potential victim may be threatened with violence by a predator unless they are compliant with the predator’s demands.  At some point the victim may feel as if they can’t notify their family members because of the shame and humiliation associated with the situation.

Kidnapping is definitely a way for a predator to find his next victim.

Sadly enough, even family members have been known to “pimp out” another family member.

What kind of signs and symptoms might lead you to believe you have identified a human trafficked victim?  A potential victim may:

1.  Have very little control over their comings and goings.  They may work for very little or no money and the hours may be unusual and/or long.  They may have very large debt to pay and have been recruited under false pretenses about the work.
2. Be under the age of 18 and performing commercial sex acts.  Is in the sex industry and have a manager/pimp.  Activities and contact with other persons is very restricted.
3. May exhibit symptoms of anxiety, fear, flat affect, nervous/paranoid behavior.  May avoid eye contact and be afraid of references to law enforcement.
4. Show signs of being malnourished with unexplained injuries, untreated illnesses, and signs of physical and/or sexual abuse.
5. Demonstrate a lack of control over money, personal documentation, no personal possessions, and may have another person speak for him/her.
6. May exhibit a lack of knowledge about living arrangements, the state or town he/she is in, inconsistent stories about life circumstances and a loss of sense of time.
Any one of these may not indicate a trafficking situation, however, if several of these issues seem to be present in a person’s life then you may want to contact the national 24/7 toll-free Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.  In case emergency measures are needed, then it is best to call your local police department or emergency access number.*

*The information shared in this article was derived from information provided from these two sources:  U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools,www.ed.gov/osdfs.  A Bridge of Hope, BuildingBridgesTogether@yahoo.com and www.ABridgeOfHope.org.

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