About This Episode
How does being part of a healthy family help safeguard children from the threat of human trafficking?
According to the International Labor Organization, there are approximately 21 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. Predators frequently use social media to lure vulnerable minors into a life subjugation, often for use as sex slaves or forced laborers. The grooming process involves preying upon the child’s insecurities and familial dysfunction to lull him or her into a false sense of security. The predator affirms the child and will often pose as a boyfriend or girlfriend before taking steps to isolate the victim from his or her family and coerce them into forced servitude. Parents should be mindful of the risk factors that make children more susceptible to predation and take strides to address any concerns. Children are most vulnerable to victimization when they feel their emotional needs are not being met at home, during periods of transition, and after experiencing any kind of traumatic or extraordinarily stressful event. The best way to prevent your child from being victimized is to give your child the love and affection that they crave and to have earnest, age appropriate conversations with them about internet safety. Monitoring your child’s activities and keeping tabs on who they are spending time with is another great way to help keep your child safe.
People On This Episode
Dr. Alicia La Hoz
This Week's Action
This week, take some practical steps toward safeguarding your family against human trafficking. Here are a few ideas:
- If your child is old enough to understand “the facts of life,” make sure you’re the first voice they hear on this topic. Be proactive in instilling a strong sexual ethic in your children as well as an understanding of what healthy relationships look like.
- Talk to your children about internet safety and monitor their behavior online. Make sure that they know that not everyone they meet online is safe to talk to and that they should never agree to meet up with someone they only know from the internet.
- Invite your children’s friends over to your house. Not only is this loads of fun for them, it allows them to interact in a safe environment and gives you the opportunity to get to know who your child is spending time with.
- Allow your children to interrupt you, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It seems small, but taking advantage of those little moments throughout the day to bond with your child communicates to them, perhaps more than words ever could, that they are valuable and loved. This is your first line of defense against potential predators because, remember, children seek love and affirmation wherever they can find it. Make sure they know; they’ve already found it in you.
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