How to protect your child from traffickers

If the growing awareness of child trafficking has you worried about your children or grandchildren, you can be quickly overwhelmed by the advice out there.

I looked for something simple and found an article in Aleteia, a Christian publication, which features Lina Nealon of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She says: The greatest danger to your child isn’t strangers on the street. It’s the Internet.

The greatest threat to most children is not being snatched from their parents in the supermarket parking lot, as social media would have us believe. It’s in their own homes and bedrooms, on their phones and tablets. “Social media apps are becoming online marketplaces for trafficking,” Nealon said.

She referred to a focus group her organization did this year with youth ages 16-18 from stable families in the wealthy suburbs of Washington, D.C. “100% of them had been solicited for sex online by a stranger,” she said.

So if you need a place to start, the No. 1 thing to do, that's it. In the United States, according to Psychology Today, up to 90% of recruitment into sex trafficking is done by means of the Internet. And 59% of online victim recruitment in active sex trafficking cases occurred on Facebook.

Nealon recommended Protect Young Eyes, a website that offers thorough reviews of all the popular online apps that predators use. Here's where your homework begins. I suggest picking one article at a time at that website to learn how to educate your child and how to monitor his or her Internet use. Yes, you'll need to have difficult talks with your child.

More online safety tools can be found on the website of Veterans for Child Rescue.

There are unlimited resources out there, but these two websites are a good start, and you have to start somewhere.

"We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known."
~ Malcolm Muggeridge

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