This is part 1 of a 2 part Human Trafficking Awareness blog post
April Rothweiler, YouthHOPE
Do you use Craigslist? What about Facebook or Instagram? I do. Kik or Snapchat? Have you ever heard of Backpage.com? These are some of the sites that fall prey to sexual predators and traffickers. In fact, Backpage is notorious for openly showing ads soliciting underage persons.
I don’t like to think of myself as a helicopter parent, but I always try to know what is going on in my kids’ lives. I know their passwords (I’m aware they have accounts I haven’t yet come across) and I check in on them regularly. I don’t feel bad about it either. That is because I have seen the ugliness that one wrong choice makes – the choice that puts an underage person, a youth, in a situation they cannot escape from – non-consensual sex. This can be rape, trafficking, and even coercion, sometimes resulting in worse.
I am not encouraging you to trample on your kids rights or control their every move (or so you think), but I am encouraging you to step in and pay attention. Create opportunity for “talks” to happen; rides in the car, dinners around the table, asking how their day was or if you can help them with homework. A simple, "how’s __________?" (insert child’s friend’s name) can start a conversation that informs you of how things really are in your child’s; life, social scene, school, extracurricular activities, etc. Your kids want to talk to you; they just don’t want you to know that. Be willing to go to them because they may not come to you.