Monday, August 22, 2011

Few Safeguards Between the Youth and Human Traffickers

Human trafficking is more widespread in poor economic times. This is not an evil that is far removed from us. Many fall of our young people are falling victim to human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude and more. Children as young a 12 are falling to these predators. We are not immune to it in the United States.  Cases have been reported in every state. 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year. See Human Trafficking:  Facts and Figures.

It is surprising that after all these years, we have not a suitable description of human trafficking which would help us identify the perpetrators and prosecute them. Many of the jobs once held by our youth are not available to them because they have been replaced by more mature individuals. They have taken to the media and social networking to find employment.

They are falling victim to traps set for them appearing online as harmless employment opportunities. Sexual exploitation is the most common form of human trafficking.  We need to be on the lookout in our communities and know the signs of possible victims:

A victim:
  • Has unexplained absences from school for a period of time, and is therefore a truant
  • Demonstrates an inability to attend school on a regular basis
  • Chronically runs away from home
  • Makes references to frequent travel to other cities
  • Exhibits bruises or other physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression, or fear
  • Lacks control over her or his schedule or identification documents
  • Is hungry-malnourished or inappropriately dressed (based on weather conditions or surroundings)
Additional signs that may indicate sex-related trafficking include:
  • Demonstrates a sudden change in attire, behavior, or material possessions (e.g., has expensive items)
  • Makes references to sexual situations that are beyond age-specific norms
  • Has a “boyfriend” who is noticeably older (10+ years)
  • Makes references to terminology of the commercial sex industry that are beyond age specific norms; engages in promiscuous behavior and may be labeled “fast” by peers
              See Human Trafficking of Children in the United States. 

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