The Porch Light sex trafficking prevention and advocacy efforts include educating the public about protecting your child, knowing the signs and detecting behaviors that may indicate that a child needs help.
How Can You Protect Your Child?
Child sex trafficking trade is prevalent in both the United States and in countries worldwide – but could someone you know become a victim? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. It could be your neighbor, a friend or even a relative. Here are ways to protect your child or a child you know from becoming a victim:
- Talk to your child about the realities of sexual abuse. Remind your child that he or she can talk to you about anything. Ask him or her to come to you if there is abuse or mistreatment – verbally, physically or sexually.
- Verbalize to your child how much he or she is loved and valued, and show that love every day. Talk about what real, Christ-like love is all about (1 Cor. 13: 4-8).
- Know your child’s friends. Learn about those your child chooses to spend time with after school and on the weekends.
- Trust your child, but be cautious about surroundings. Take advantage of online parental control settings and stay aware of all cell phone communications.
- Be social media savvy. Monitor your child’s social media activity and remind him or her to keep all personal information private.
- Keep online time out in the open. Ensure your child is only on the Internet in common areas of your home, like a living room, kitchen or family room.
- Be transparent about your own life experiences. This may help your child understand why you make the decisions you do and could encourage them to confide in you when it really counts.
- Take the time for extracurricular activities. Encourage your child to be active in sports, church outings, school clubs and more. Traffickers are thought to be looking for victims in malls, gas stations, parks, restaurants and other places children hang out when they “have nothing to do.”
- Decide whether a GPS tracking device is right for your family, such as an AMBER Alert GPS.
If your child runs away, immediately report him or her as missing to your local law enforcement agency.
What are the Signs of Traffic Activity?
Victims of sex trafficking may appear:
- Fearful, especially near law enforcement
- Unaware of their location or surroundings (city, state, etc.)
- Depressed, nervous and/or paranoid
- Overly sexual, talking a lot about sexual activity or an older boyfriend
Victims of sex trafficking may also:
- Avoid eye contact
- Lie about their age
- Be branded/tattooed
- Lack personal belongings
- Have no sense of time
- Give “scripted” answers or inconsistent details regarding their whereabouts or activities
- Exhibit signs of abuse (bruises, scratches, welts)
- Lack identifying documents (driver’s license, I.D., etc.)
- Have no control of his/her own money
What if You Suspect Someone is Being Trafficked?
Recognize the signs; help save a life! If you suspect someone is being trafficked in the United States, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888 immediately.
If you are traveling outside the country, check out this list of global trafficking hotlines provided by the U.S. Department of State.