Conversation Starters with Your Kids: Tips for How to Raise Awareness About Sex Trafficking and Child Abuse
We are in the middle of National Sex Trafficking Awareness Month (January) and child abuse is one of the largest reasons girls and boys go into the "trade" and are recruited. April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, so we are sharing with you a new INFOGRAPHIC and TIPS of how to see the signs of sex trafficking recruitment and how to talk to your children about child abuse and sex trafficking for educational and awareness purposes. We are The Selah Way Foundation, the foundation arm of Selah Freedom - the nation's largest anti-sex trafficking service organization with a presence in many hot spot cities for sex trafficking.
Please feel free to use one or both of these for your publication Funky Frugal Mommy.
Thank you. And don't hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions. INFOGRAPHIC attached and TIPS appear below.
It’s never too early to have meaningful dialogues with your children and teens about the issue of child abuse and sex traffic recruitment, an epidemic in America. The media reports stories about sex trafficking sting operations involving minors every day. And the statistics are staggering:
• Sex trafficking is a $99 billion dollar industry
• 300,000 American children are at risk every year
• 1 in 10 children are sexually abused
• Two million children are sold each year through sex trafficking
• 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused
• 1 of 5 children receive online sexual solicitations
• Child sex trafficking has been reported in all 50 states Sex trafficking has been reported in all 50 states and targets children from all races, socio-economic backgrounds and zip codes
• The average age of children running away and entering sex trafficking is 15-17
• Within 48 hours of leaving home, 1 out of 3 children are solicited for sex
Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good is the co-founder of the nation’s largest anti-sex trafficking organization called Selah Freedom, and The Selah Way Foundation. She is the new author of a book, Groomed, published by Harper Collins, that will help you protect the next generation from being groomed and held captive by secrets. Below are 5 tips for parents to use when beginning to dialogue with young children and pre-teens about child abuse and sex traffic recruitment prevention. The tips are excerpted from Selah Freedom’s Prevention Program that equips parents, youth and those who work with them, with the tools they need to avoid being manipulated by a trafficker and successfully prevents girls from being commercially sold.
Tip #1: Conversation Starters
For younger children, talk about safe vs. unsafe touch
Encourage your child to use their voice
Have your child identify their trust triangle (3 safe adults they can talk to)
Explain the difference between secrets vs. surprises
Talk about safe screens
Create a safety plan on what they can do if they don’t feel safe
If you suspect child abuse or trafficking, notify authorities immediately and keep our child safe by letting police handle it
Ask your pre-teen, “what qualities do you want in a relationship?” “How would you know you are unsafe online or in a relationship?” “How would you respond to an unsafe conversation or person that made you feel uncomfortable?”
Tip #2: Communication
Ask your child what they know about this topic and discuss the facts and myths.
Identify safety measures that your family can put in place and role-play different scenarios.
Don’t be afraid to add a bit of humor and assure your child that it is ok to have this conversation.
Listen to your child speak without interrupting, judging or criticizing.
Tip #3: Education
Check out “SelahFreedom.com/Prevention” with your child for Safety Tips; Videos/Documentaries/Helpful Links
Give youth access to resources and safe contacts
Stay in the loop and check out new apps as youth are using them
Tip #4: Red Alert! Spotting signs of sex abuse in your own children or loved one
Sexual knowledge and experience beyond their years
Hyper-awareness of genital area, touching, discussing, etc. with themselves or other children/teens
History of emotional, physical and sexual abuse in families
Fear/hesitance of adult (s) or being alone with a particular person
Tip #5: Keep Up the Dialogue
It’s not “one and done” …. keep the conversation going with your kids each year as they are growing up and maturing.
About Selah Freedom: Selah Freedom is a national organization with the mission to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through four strong programs: Advocacy & Awareness, Prevention, Outreach and Residential. Selah is a Hebrew word which means to pause, rest, and reflect. We give survivors a chance to do just that. Women in our programs have an opportunity to dream again; to discover who it is they were created to be.
In 2010, Selah Freedom's founders, Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, Laurie Swink and Misty Stinson, discovered the horrifying truth that local children were being bought and sold for sex right here in our own communities - American children! What began as the grassroots initiative of women from across the country to be a voice for the voiceless, has quickly transformed into a thriving organization that closely partners with law enforcement, legislators, and influential leaders to not only shed light on the staggering statistics, but we are working together to change those statistics by changing lives!