While it is not something many people talk about openly, human trafficking incidents have become more and more frequent. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally. 26% of them are children. While there is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the United States, various sources estimate the numbers to be in the hundreds of thousands.
These are startling numbers. What can you do as a parent to protect your children from human trafficking? Let us share three key tips with you today.
1. Make sure your children are supervised.
Human traffickers typically frequent malls, movie theaters, bowling alleys, parks and around school grounds. Basically, anywhere that a child or teenager would play or hangout. When in these areas, make sure your children are constantly supervised. If you are watching over more than just a few children, make sure each child takes part in the “buddy system.” Children in groups are far less likely to be human trafficked than children who look alone or isolated. Groups and accountability can help to protect your children from human trafficking. Additionally, don’t enter into a situation where you feel there are too many children to look after. Maintain a small adult-to-child ratio. The more adults present in public places, the better chance of safety.
2. Have the tough conversations with your children.
No parent wants to sit his or her child down and cause fear with warnings of human trafficking. When it comes to the safety of your children, however, these tough conversations are important. Warn your children from a young age to stay away from strangers. Teach them common signs of danger such as a stranger approaching them when they are alone or offering them and their friends a gift. In addition, make sure they know never to get in a car or leave a location with someone they do not know. While you do not want to instill a distrust in the world, these tough conversations can help your child to think twice about a situation or a person and thus avoid any potential danger.
3. Create a pattern of “checking in” with you.
When you are not with your children, help them create a habit of checking in with you – rather than vice versa. Emphasize the importance of them calling or texting you every so often to let you know they are safe. If the habit is reversed, they will always wait for you to check in, which may not be the right way to protect your children from human trafficking. This way, they know you are concerned for their safety and will recognize a red flag if they do not contact you. In addition, create a code text. A specific symbol or word quickly sent from their phone can notify you instantly that they are in trouble.
Human trafficking is every parent’s worst nightmare. However, these three tips may help keep your child safe. The key is to protect your children human trafficking. Our goal is always to seek justice for our clients. If you have questions on this or any other issue, do not wait to contact our firm. We are your Tallahassee law firm and are here to support you.