Do you know who your child is talking to online? Chances are, even if you keep a close eye you don’t. It’s very easy to brush it off, to tell yourself that you don't have any reason to worry, your child is ‘good’ and your kid ‘would never talk to a stranger’. Or maybe it’s simple to believe they are just making ‘friends’ from out of town, or possibly out of state. You may believe that your child is ‘too innocent’ or possibly ‘too smart’ to be involved in anything dark or dangerous. You keep a good home, you give all the love and attention they need, they get good grades, they visit their grandparents and still go to Girl Scouts.
None of this matters.
The sad truth is, many children fall prey to very charming, very innocent seeming, very persistent predators. These hunters no longer need to snatch kids off the street, they can lure them in from the comfort of their living room sofa. They win them over with compliments, or a shoulder to lean on. They make promises of a luxurious life that maybe a parent can’t provide. They convince them they want to take care of them and love them like nobody has. Even if a young girl – or boy- has a wonderful home life with love all around them, some may find this very enticing.
“Jenny” comes from a stable household. She plays sports and studies hard. Her best friend has recently gotten herself a boyfriend and Jenny is finding herself alone in much of her spare time. She surfs online. One day she gets a friend request from “Rob” who saw her picture and thought she was pretty cute. She thinks he’s a good looking guy, and chatting is innocent enough, right? It doesn’t take long before Rob hones in on Jenny’s loneliness and picks up on her weaknesses. She doesn’t feel quite pretty enough, so she hasn’t had a boyfriend yet. Rob sees to it that he fills the void, showering her with compliments and telling her everything she hoped a boy would one day say to her. She’s beautiful, she’s sexy, he would love to have a girl like her.
One day Jenny has a fight with her dad and Rob is there for her to cry to. He suggests she come visit him, take some time away from her family, her strict school schedule. She has a little bit of birthday money saved but it isn’t enough for the bus ticket. Rob makes all of the financial arrangements, and before anyone realizes she’s gone she is hundreds of miles from home.
She meets up with Rob and he is everything she’d hoped. He’s handsome, he’s sweet, he will take care of her. They head to a hotel for their first night together and although still charming, he is putting pressure on her. Pressure to be ‘his girl’. When she resists, he becomes angry and she says she wants to go home. But you see, she has no money, she is dependent on Rob now and Rob wants the money back that he spent for her bus ticket to get her there.
Rob has an idea for her to make some quick cash. She starts to cry and says she wants to call home, her parents would send her a ticket, but you see Rob can’t allow that because then he will be in trouble. If she doesn’t do as he says there will be consequences to her and possibly to her family. He reminds her that he knows a lot about her, like where her little sister goes to school.
Just like that, Jenny is trapped. Jenny now belongs to Rob. Jenny is 13.
According to trafficking.org the statistics of human trafficking in the US is staggering :
“There are 100,000- 300,000 underage girls being sold for sex in America today. The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 yrs old. 1 out of 3 teens on the street will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of running away from home. Minor victims are sold on average 10-15 times EVERY DAY, 6 days a week. 55% of internet child porn comes from the US. 1 out of 5 pornographic images are of a child.”
CHILDREN ARE NOT PROSTITUTES THEY ARE VICTIMS AND THEY ARE SOMEBODY’S CHILD!
These are not bad kids. These are not ‘loose’, ‘wild’, or ‘screwed up’ girls and boys. These are confused, scared children who are victims.
Please not only pay attention, but WARN YOUR CHILDREN. So many people feel this can’t happen to them, or they believe this is something that happens in another part of the world. This is happening HERE to OUR KIDS.
Sit with your child. Go to youtube.com and search American trafficking and watch. Be disgusted. Be sad. Be outraged. Be terrified.
For confidential help and information 24/7, call the US National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-3737-888