Here is a link to my in-class presentation of this blog
Here are a few ways you can get involved and help put an end to Child Sex Slavery in America:
- National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-800-373-7888
- Become a Blue Campaign Partner
- Meet with and/or write to your local, state, and federal government representatives to let them know you care about combating human trafficking/child sex slavery, and ask what they are doing to address it.
- Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization, such as My Sister’s Place, located in White Plains, NY – You can find more organizations here: Global Modern Slavery
- Students: Take action on your campus. Join or establish a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking/child sex slavery and initiate action throughout your local community. Consider doing one of your research papers on a topic concerning human trafficking/child sex slavery. Request that human trafficking be included in university curricula.
- Journalists: The media plays an enormous role in shaping perceptions and guiding the public conversation about human trafficking/child sex slavery. Here are some media best practices on how to effectively and responsibly report stories on human trafficking/child sex slavery.
Listed below are common indicators to help recognize human trafficking that can help to identify victims and save lives.
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
- Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
- Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
- Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
- Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
- Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
- Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
- Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
- Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children posted this photo of statistics on Child Sex Trafficking in 2016 on their website.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, and Twitter, are dangerous and risky for not only foster children, but for the foster parents, as well. These sites are a danger to children because of America’s dark little secret, human sex trafficking. Citizens of our society are either not aware of it, or refuse to acknowledge its existence in our nation. Sex traffickers target victims who are runaways, victims of prior abuse, homeless, children looking to belong and find acceptance, children in/from foster care, and other victimized children seeking love and a sense of belonging. The majority of children in the United States who are sexually exploited have a past of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse. Pimps attract and and target these children at group homes promising them a better life filled with love, belonging, and gifts.
The internet is highly unregulated, and difficult to police, so child predators and human traffickers use this technological platform for their sexually criminal behavior. The internet had made it easier for traffickers to to exploit these children. Sex traffickers target audience is only a click or a phone call away. The internet gives perpetrators the opportunity to commit these sexual crimes because of its unregulated, difficult to police nature, providing them with little fear and risk of prosecution.
These two photos that I found on Instagram are examples of how the panic over the missing teens in D.C., undue or not, has had a huge impact on the coverage of sex trafficking on social media. It is social media posts, such as these, that are the reason why so many of these cases are known about and solved. When there is little to no mass media coverage of such a serious issue affecting this country, it is up to the citizens to raise awareness and help stop human trafficking the only way they can, through social media. Social media in today’s society is undoubtedly powerful. Viral posts and trending topics can have a tremendously positive impact on helping stop human trafficking. The social media posts of numerous American citizens are giving sex trafficking and its victims the media coverage that they deserve.
Hype and misinformation have caused an “undue” panic and fear on social media about missing teenagers in Washington D.C. The number of teens missing in Washington D.C. has dropped from 2,433 in 2015 to 2,242 in 2016. Although the numbers are decreasing, 2,242 still too high of a number. Rachael Reid, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said “We’ve just been posting [missing teen cases] on social media more often.” The cause of this viral panic was not was not a misreporting of missing teens, but instead a change in the way the department shared such cases with the public. As a result of posting about the disappearances more frequently, police say they have managed to solve cases faster than before. Police say their recent social media campaigning on missing teens has generated a greater public awareness about an issue that’s existed for many years.
Karimah Bilal, a police spokesperson, said “Because of the number of releases, there have been concerns that young girls in the District of Columbia are victims of human trafficking or have been kidnapped. Even though, according to authorities, the majority of the missing persons in 2017 are considered to be voluntary vanishings, meaning the teens were not kidnapped, thus discrediting fears of a massive human trafficking problem in D.C., these disappearances being covered virally on social media have informed and alarmed people of the very real threat that is human trafficking in this country and providing a way to get involved. In today’s society, a retweet on twitter can save a life.