Newest predators stalking children: human traffickers
Predators are always a concern. We worry about the “creeper” hanging around the neighborhood park and our kids being stalked over the Internet. Now there is an even more frightening predator stalking our children: the human trafficker.
Human trafficking is the new form of slavery and is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Victims of human trafficking are forced into agricultural work, housekeeping or commercial sex. Some victims who are forced into commercial sex are as young as 11.
Human traffickers will prey on youth who are experiencing problems at home. The recruiter will make the victim believe they care about them more than their parents. The recruiter will shower the victim with gifts and false promises of love and support. Once they have gained the victim’s trust, they may abduct the victim and control the victim with threats, physical assault, drugs and sexual abuse.
It is estimated that 1.6 million youth run away every year and runaway youths are at most risk to be recruited into human trafficking. About 46 percent of youth who run away, report they left because of perceived family problems. Kids can run away at any age but the majority are 16-year-old females and can be easily influenced by human trafficking recruiters. Runaway youth are sometimes recruited into human trafficking within just a few hours after leaving home.
As much as we would like to, we cannot lock our children in their rooms in an attempt to keep them safe. A child will make the choice to leave and the locks on the doors and windows are designed to keep people out and not in. If your child does leave home, call your local law enforcement agency immediately. Despite what most television shows and movies make you believe, there is not a 24-hour waiting period to report a missing child.
All families experience issues and problems. Parents need to keep an open communication with their children to discuss issues their children perceive to be a problem and work on resolving those issues. Parents should also talk to their children about the dangers of leaving home and should be very open about the dangers of human trafficking. Tell your children how hurt and scared you would be if they would run away and remind them there is no problem that cannot be worked out. Let them know that if they ever feel like running away, you will listen and offer alternative suggestions to help keep our kids safe.
Keeping Our Kids Safe is brought to by the Delaware Police Department and School Resource Officer Rod Glazer.