We know the feeling well.
When this issue hits you, it hits you hard, and your first thought is: “What can I do to help?”
By choosing to learn more about this issue, you’ve already taken the first step towards building a better world for children, one where online child sexual exploitation has been eliminated. But before we get to live in that world we have a lot of work to do.
The good news is that there are tangible things you can do today to make a meaningful difference in reaching victims of child sex trafficking faster and prevent trafficking in the first place.
Here’s what you can do right now to help defend children from child sex trafficking:
1. Talk to your kids about sextortion and grooming
A recent article highlighted that even video games designed for young children can house predatory grooming—a tactic used by online predators to coerce children into sexual exploitation. Through grooming, an adult may initiate a conversation through in-game chat with a child and develop a relationship to build trust over time before requesting or sharing sexual content.
Grooming often goes hand in hand with sextortion, which is the threat to reveal intimate images in order to coerce victims—often into creating more abusive content or eventually becoming groomed into in-person exploitation like trafficking.
It’s a conversation that needs to happen, and there’s no time to waste. The most important thing? Try to keep a level head and avoid shaming and blaming. Online predators use sophisticated technology and psychological tactics to coerce the most vulnerable children. Keep that in mind when you have this conversation.
Resource: Online Safety Parent Toolkit
2. Report trafficking activity and abusive content
Technology has allowed for the proliferation of online sex trafficking and the abusive content that can often accompany it. If you come across any of this content, or have encountered related abusive material, you can report it to your local law enforcement authorities.
Even if you don’t have anything to report, sharing content on human trafficking such as this on your social networks can help to raise awareness. 90% of minor sex trafficking victims reported that they still had access to social media during their abuse. You never know who you might reach with critical help.
3. Talk to your representatives about child sex trafficking legislation
At the intersection of technology and child sex trafficking, legislation can and must be a part of the solution.
Educate yourself on local, state, and federal laws around child sex trafficking, and get to know your representatives at all levels of government. Ask them what legislation they’re working on to protect children from online sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
Social media is a powerful platform for reaching your representatives, too. If there’s a critical mass of messages on the same topic, they will listen. In fact, 80% of parliamentary staffers say that just 10 social media posts on a particular topic would cause their office to take note. Your voice is important, and your representatives are waiting to hear from you.
4. Donate to organizations addressing child sex trafficking
This issue is deeply complicated, and addressing it successfully requires a variety of approaches from a spectrum of organizations.
Whether building technology to address child trafficking, providing opportunities for exploited children to connect with resources, equipping survivors with ongoing support, developing public policy or any of the multitude of efforts being pointed towards ending child sex trafficking, hard-working organizations can use your help.
5. Stay informed and share what you’ve learned
In addition to being a challenging topic to talk about, child sex trafficking is an issue that’s constantly evolving, requiring flexibility and continued learning.
Sign up for our emails below and follow us on social media to stay updated on the issue. And, perhaps most importantly, take the courageous step of being the person in your social network that is willing to talk about the issue. You can be pro-active or you can wait for others to come to you, but simply being open to having the conversation is an important step that will lead to real change when enough of us accept the challenge.
There are many ways to help, and no matter how you choose to get involved you’ll be building a better world—one where kids can be safe, curious, and happy.
If you have any suspicions about child sex trafficking in your area, please report it to your local law enforcement authority. IMPORTANT: If you have reason to believe a person is in immediate danger you should call the police first.
Enjoy freshly made scones while you sip a glass of bubbly, and freshly brewed tea and coffee. The idea is simple. We're hosting a breakfast so that we can be the change we wish to see in our world, where women and children can live free from slavery and sexual exploitation.
Each guest will receive a Key to FREEDOM pendant and chain. While we share a cuppa and some delicious food, we can also learn about how we can help those affected by trafficking and what we can do to make a difference.
Together, we can be the change we wish to see in our world.