TEN WAYS TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING!
- Raise awareness by hosting or participating in a training. IN OUR BACKYARD can tailor a training to fit your specific need, audience and mission. Request more information here.
- Join the Freedom Sticker Project Outreach and with our guidance and assistance, you can host your very own Freedom Sticker outreach!
- Read IN OUR BACKYARD yourself or with others! Order the book here.
- Get trained! Check out our Video Library for valuable resources.
- Prevent Human Trafficking in your school or your child’s school by bringing our Teens Against Trafficking into the school.
- Volunteer for IN OUR BACKYARD – we have various volunteer opportunities and would love to connect with you to find out the best utilization of your time and talents.
- Advocate by getting involved in your local or state legislature. IOB is involved in various legislative advising capacities. Find out more here!
- Host a Sip & Give event by inviting your friends to learn more about human trafficking and our organization. Sign up here for more info!
- Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and informational updates
- Become a Freedom Partner!
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What we can do as parents, teachers, and adults to protect our kids:
1. Educate your kids 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 kids, and let them talk to you without judgment. They need to know they are safer with you than anywhere else. Creating a safe, judgment free environment may be more successful through a licensed therapist. Frequently check-in with your child and be interested in their life experiences.
3. Technology is a big part of how sex trafficking happens with youth. Know your kid’s passwords, know what is on their phone. A good rule is “our family has safe communication to protect the ones we love, adults have access to passwords, or the device is not allowed”. Keep a document saved with all passwords so a child also can remember passwords if forgotten, it should be an open to family access document. 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. Certain apps give access to video messaging that “disappears”. There is always more privacy on the internet than adults are able to control. If a child is defensive, that may be a red flag that they are in contact with someone, and may become unsafe.
4. Tech devices now exist which include: GPS tracking devices which can be placed on phones. These help parents learn a child’s frequent whereabouts and, if needed, in an emergency allow authorities to track your child and find them when they first go missing.
5. Know your kid’s friends. Create social spaces where a child can invite friends and connect. Whether in the home or on the go, staying connected and asking questions helps gather information on who your child is hanging out with. Ask for the other parent’s phone number, so an adult can be reached, do not allow just the friend’s personal phone number. Adults of all children should have each other’s contact information to help keep all children safe.
6. Get youth involved in positive things, Community groups, sports, music, community service, and church youth groups. Surround them with positive activities where there are lots of different people and peers so they can find their fit.
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 less supervision and are into drugs, alcohol, and other negative contraband or violence.
Solution: Know your kid’s friends, don’t be afraid to be the parent and say no. Contact the school counselor, or a private practice therapist.
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 a relationship and help them understand it’s important to discuss with you any opportunities such as the one in this situation. Research the information they have alongside them in a positive way.
Situation: Kids 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: Kids are bringing home new cell phones and gifts from a new friend. They may have new items of clothes, jewelry, shoes, and such that are out of the normal budget they can afford.
Solution: Find out where the gifts came from, confiscate them, and contact authorities if necessary.
Situation: Girls, especially teens with a new love interest who may be several years older
Solution: Gather as much information as possible without judgement. Keeping yourself as a trusted contact for your child is of high value. Call a professional family therapist to hold a safe space for conversations. If restricting contact is not welcomed by the child, seek authorities, especially if the love interest is near the age of 18+, or in college/independent living.
Situation: Kids/teens come home with unexplained cash or money deposited in and out of independent accounts online.
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! Traffickers use grooming tactics that include using their victims who are children to recruit other/new victims. If there is new cash/money in your child’s life, take this red flag seriously.
Situation: New tattoos on a child (minor)
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? Tattoos can be a child’s natural independence, but it can sometimes be a grooming tactic by a trafficker.
Today, children are bombarded with constant communication online. It is a necessity for their social acceptance with peers. Fake accounts and multiple accounts children create to fit in may lead to a child being enticed to share a photo or conversation they may later regret. Situations of sextortion whether unkind and/or a threat to their safety is something to stay aware of and discuss with your child. Don’t share something that can’t be shared to the world without a positive outcome is a common rule to help your child follow. Children will make mistakes, help guide them to stay safe and comfortable. Click here to see what sextortion is and how to fight it. You can report sextortion to the FBI by visiting them, calling them, or reporting it online here.