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What is Child Sex Trafficking?

Child sex trafficking is human trafficking of a child for sexual exploitation. Trafficking can look many different ways. The common misconception is that trafficking is the shackling and caging of older teen girls and women forced through slavery. Slavery can be a form of trafficking; historically, it was the primary way it occurred. However, it is becoming more common for trafficking to occur amid the norms of our society. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing organized crime activity in the United States. Estimating 250,000 children per year are victims of sex trafficking. Most older children are trafficked while still going to school and living at home!

Trafficked While Living at Home

With the increase in the sexualization of our pre-teens and teens, children often do not know they are victims, especially initially. Often gradually groomed by an older adult. A man or a woman can do grooming. Often an older man will entice through promises of affection. This groomer is often a “pimp” in disguise and will later be the enforcer of the child’s victimization. A woman can also be a groomer which provides a hesitant young girl a false sense of safety. These women sometimes are called “scouts” and are often used by pimps to help lure in victims.

Child sex trafficking can involve children of any age. Trafficked young children are more easily hidden and often are not seen or known by the public. A parent or family member is often trafficking them. As described above, trafficked older teens are usually still engaging in society.

Naivety Enables Exploitation

Children are often not forced into trafficking instead persuaded, bribed, tricked, or coerced. They might not understand that it’s wrong or that abuse is happening (especially to start with). And they might be afraid to tell someone. Due to a child’s naivety, they do not know they are being groomed or trafficked. They often do not realize how deep of a problem they are in until trapped or threatened and feel they have no other options. Child sex trafficking usually controls its victims through invisible shackles of the perpetrator’s severe manipulation and extreme emotional abuse.

This information is from our child safety and prevention training Watchful Eye.

How to Identify Exploitation and Abuse

Through our interactive training, Watchful Eye, we simplify how to identify and prevent child exploitation. No matter your skill level, you can learn to recognize behavior patterns and subtle indicators through this life-saving training.

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