Tips for Keeping Kids Safe
What we can do as parents, teachers, and adults to protect our kids:
1. Educate your children about human trafficking. That it is here, what it looks like and to talk to you or another responsible adult if they think they see it. If they are able, have them read In Our Backyard. It will help them recognize the indicators.
2. Communicate with your children, and let them talk to you without judgment. They need to know they are safer with you than anywhere else. One rule we had with our children was that if they did something wrong and they told us before we found out, they might have some consequences but their punishment would be less than if we found out another way.
3. Technology is a big part of how sex trafficking happens with youth. Know your children’s passwords, know what is on their phone. A good rule is “as long as you live under our roof, we have access to passwords, emails, texts, etc.” Your child’s privacy is important but so is their safety. If you talk to parents whose children have been sex trafficked, without exception, they will all tell you they wish they had monitored their computers, cell phone and activities on social media.
4. Technological devices now exist which include: GPS tracking devices which can be placed on phones, clothes, and in backpacks which help parents and authorities track your child and find them when they first go missing. DNA scent kits which can be used to help authorities and dogs track a scent trail.
5. Know your children’s friends. Have them over to your home. Feed them a pan of brownies, a batch of cookies and sit down and talk with them. Know where they hang out and what they are like.
6. Get youth involved in positive things, community groups, sports, music, community service, and church youth groups. Surround them with positive peer pressure.
Gang Involved-Sex Trafficking
Watch this online training to learn how gangs are trafficking women and girls for sex.
Indicators of Human Trafficking in the Lives of Those Around You:
Situation: Teens whose circle of friends change completely and their new friends may have a gangster or provocative look
Solution: Know your children’s friends, don’t be afraid to be the parent and say no.
Situation: Teen receives an offer that sounds too good to be true — a dream life, fancy cars, fancy clothes, fast living for seemingly nothing
Solution: Keep in good communication with your children, do things with them to build relationship and help them understand it’s important to discuss with you any opportunities such as the one in this situation.
Situation: Children have increased and unexplained absences from school.
Solution: Work with school to ascertain what is happening and cooperate with the school so you can find your child immediately in an unexplained absence.
Situation: Children are bringing home new cell phones as gifts from a new friend.
Solution: Find out where the cell phones came from, confiscate them, and contact authorities if necessary.
Situation: Girls, especially teens with a new boyfriend who may be several years older
Solution: Restrict contact with him. If that doesn’t work consider relocating your child to protect them. (You may contact IN OUR BACKYARD) if you need information about relocation services.
Situation: Children/teens come home with unexplained money or gifts.
Solution: Find out where they came from. Bring in outside help from counselors, relatives or others who can help. Don’t ignore or hide this to save reputation. Get help!
Situation: New tattoos
Solution: Find out who did the tattoo, find out who was with them for the tattoo and what does it mean? Who else has the same tattoo?
Human Trafficking in Schools
For more information on the above chart: Recognizing the Signs of Human Trafficking in Schools