Human trafficking is the 2nd largest crime worldwide and it has become an epidemic in America with many cases reported each year in every state. Sex Trafficking is a $99 billion dollar industry, and with Covid-19 Stay-at-Home orders, the recruitment process continues to grow, and more and more kids and teens are online and subject to exploitation.
With more users online than ever before, being vulnerable to abuse and internet trafficking is becoming more routine. This is why it is extremely important to find ways to be an at home-advocate for human trafficking. Here are some suggestions on how you can help.
Educate children on internet safety
The internet has always been a key weapon used by traffickers. Youth ages 8 to 18 spend anywhere from six to nine hours using technology or are exposed to media each day. With children’s access to the internet at an all-time high during COVID-19, it is our responsibility to educate children on the dangers that lurk beneath the surface.
Prevention is a key Initiative of the Selah Way Foundation, launched out of the success of Selah Freedom. Their Prevention Initiative provides resources and curricula on a national scale and Sex, Lies & Media Training is one of their most valuable trainings. This training helps interveners (parents, teachers, youth workers, etc.) learn about how predators and recruiters can approach innocent youth online through social media and how to stay safe. Participants in this training will gain practical tools to keep their kids safe online and learn how to facilitate conversations with them about this issue.
Parents who complete this training will receive an invitation for their kids (6th-12th grade) to view a virtual Sex, Lies & Media training created just for them.
Learning about Victims and Survivors
Understanding the reality of human trafficking can be a tough pill to swallow. While many are aware of the concept, in most cases, a lack of visibility and understanding for victims makes it extremely difficult to truly sympathize.
Doing some research is a great place to start. Some great resources to use are The Selah Way Foundation’s and Selah Freedom’s website and YouTube channel. Another amazing resource to use is a book titled “Groomed” by Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good. These sources provide you with educational content that allows you to have a better understanding of the growing epidemic, while also reflecting on the most common methods of grooming and how survivors can step into freedom.
Human trafficking can be a difficult thing to educate yourself on. However, using quarantine to educate yourself and others on what you can do to fight human trafficking is a great use of this time.
It can feel difficult to be an advocate especially being at home, but everyone has the opportunity to be an effective at-home-advocate for human trafficking through education, research and understanding.