Even in today’s world, child trafficking is still a huge problem. Incidents of human trafficking are continually being reported across the globe — with the transportation process usually ending in tragedy.
The idea of trafficking — on any level — is horrific. It’s even worse when you hear about innocent children being trafficked by gangs, looking to exploit children for their gain.
In this article, we’re going to uncover the actual state of child trafficking by looking directly at what the statistics show. We’ll also be offering suggestions on how to ensure your child doesn’t fall victim to trafficking, including how to educate your child and apps to track kids.
- What Is Child Trafficking?
- Child Protective Services: Failing To Stop Trafficking?
- What Kids Are Most At Risk?
- How To Protect Your Kids From Child Trafficking
- A growing problem
What Is Child Trafficking?
Child trafficking shares a similar definition to human trafficking. It is the act of transporting and exploiting children for various — often malicious — purposes.
Some of the ways children get exploited through human trafficking include slave labour, as well as sexual exploitation.
Child trafficking has become of great concern over the last few years. Despite various crackdowns and government interventions, trafficking is a growing problem across the world.
In 2012 the number of trafficking victims was around 20.9 million. Since then, the number has almost doubled, with a global count of human trafficking victims now reaching 40.3 million.
In 2017, The Children’s Society reported that over 560 children were trafficked and sexually exploited in the UK alone.
Stopthetraffic.org has also reported that around 25% of all trafficking victims around the world are children — an estimated 10.1 million. Of these children trafficked by criminal gangs, 37% were forced into marriage. 21% (212,100) are thought to have been victims of sexual exploitation.
The figures are horrific. It’s almost hard to believe for most people that human trafficking is such a big problem in this day and age. However, trafficking gangs are still able to take advantage of vulnerable people — especially kids — transporting them worldwide through an underground criminal network for exploitation.
Although trafficking gangs can initiate children into a world of exploitation in many different circumstances, some people are now speculating if welfare services are corrupt or failing to protect vulnerable children from becoming victims of trafficking.
Child Protective Services: Failing To Stop Trafficking?
This is a worrying prospect — the thought of Child Protective Services (CPS) failing to protect children from the dangers of trafficking is sickening.
However, many statistics are now showing that CPS are falling short of their duty to protect children — who have often been neglected previously.
The system seems to carry many flaws. In 2018, the NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) found that out of over 23,500 reported runaway children — usually running from care homes — nearly 15% were likely victims of sex trafficking.
A report looking into child sex trafficking and the child welfare system, conducted by the Department of Children and Families in Connecticut, found that of 88 children rescued from child sex trafficking in the state, 86 of were involved with child protection services before being exploited.
An investigation led by the state of New York also discovered that nearly 85% of child trafficking victims had previously been involved with child welfare services.
These figures clearly show the dire state of the child welfare system — it’s failing children at almost every angle.
As humans, we naturally want to do whatever we can to stop child trafficking — and trafficking at every level. As well as supporting specific institutions, like NCMEC, that fight daily to rescue victims of trafficking, there’s a variety of things you can do to ensure your kids don’t fall victim to trafficking.
What Kids Are Most At Risk?
As the statistics above suggest, many kids who are supposed to be protected by the child welfare system are at high risk of becoming victims of child exploitation.
These kids are the most vulnerable in society — often running away from care homes due to feeling like they don’t belong. Due to their usually unstable childhood, these children can be faced with a range of psychological challenges from an early age.
This makes it easy for traffickers to target unstable children — offering them a false sense of stability.
However, children from many different areas of society can be at the same level of risk — primarily if they’re not taught the correct techniques to safeguard themselves from danger.
Criminals usually target younger kids, as they’re notably more vulnerable when compared with older children and kids in their late teens — who likely know how to defend themselves against rogue criminals.
How To Protect Your Kids From Child Trafficking
Although trafficking affects a huge number of kids who are part of the child welfare system, children from all areas of society can be groomed, kidnapped, and forced into the horrific world of child trafficking.
There are many ways to prevent your child from becoming the victim of child trafficking. Here are a few different things you can do.
What Parents Can Do
GPS Tracking Devices
One of the best measures you can put in place to ensure the safety of your children is to use some form of the tracking device.
Tracking devices come in many different forms. All have slightly different functions. But the idea is the same — to help you locate your kids from any location.
Using a combination of GPS satellites, cell towers, and Wi-Fi connection, tracking devices will be able to pinpoint the location of your child on a map, so you know their exact location.
The location tracking device is usually attached directly to your child’s clothing — such as their trouser pocket. You can also buy GPS tracking smartwatches, that can be securely attached to your child’s wrist.
Kid Tracker Apps
Another great way to ensure the safety of your child — especially if they have a smartphone — is to use a tracker app. There are many tracker apps available to download for both Android and iOS devices.
Tracker apps use the same technology as tracking devices — GPS satellites, cell tower signals, and Wi-Fi connections.
You can easily install a tracker app on your child’s mobile device, not just to help you track their real-time location, but also the activity on their smartphone. Many apps, including the Find My Kids app, Bark, and FamiSafe, will let you track suspicious messages and emails received by your child — enabling you to see if they’re being preyed upon by bad actors.
Educate Your Kids
Educating your kids on the risks posed by strangers is crucial. There are a variety of different tactics that bad actors use to groom, abduct, and initiate children into the trafficking system.
Educating your kids on how to spot the signs of danger is essential. If they know how to respond accordingly, they will be able to get themselves out of danger as soon as possible.
What Kids Can Do
Learn The Signs Of Danger
There are many different techniques that bad actors use to initiate children into exploitative activities.
Some of these techniques include:
- Faking an emergency: This is a common technique used by criminals to lure children — pretending that there’s an emergency involving the child’s parents. The criminal will encourage the child to get into their vehicle to get to the scene of the emergency quickly.
- Posing as a friend: Criminals will pretend to be a friend of a child’s parents. They will state that they’ve come to collect the child to take them home to their parents.
- Asking for help: For example, asking for directions or asking a child to help them find somebody is another common technique used by criminals to abduct children.
There are many other tricks that criminals use to groom and abduct children. By teaching your kids these tricks, you’ll be able to keep them one step ahead of bad actors.
Once your kids know each of these techniques, you must show them how to respond appropriately. Show them that they should always say «No» or state «I can’t help you unless I’m with an adult.» The tone of voice your child uses should always be firm.
You should also teach your child to keep their distance when they approached by strangers — at least 5 strides away. Your kids should also be trained to seek a responsible adult instantly, such as a parent, guardian, or teacher.
Learning The Dangers Of Online Grooming
Online grooming is still a very prevalent threat. Criminals — especially criminals who are part of a child trafficking network — will often resort to social media platforms to groom vulnerable children.
You must teach your kids how to stay safe online — knowing how to spot the signs of danger and how to respond. If your child has any concerns at all with regards to their online safety, you should encourage them to tell you immediately.
Using an internet or smartphone tracker app, you’ll be able to monitor any suspicious activity on your child’s social media platforms — including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Once you spot any signs of danger, you’ll be able to alert your child and show them how to respond.
Often, the best way for you to respond to any suspicious potential threats is to block the respective social media account, email address, or phone number that is being used to correspond with your child.
To learn more about teaching your kids online safety, click here.
A growing problem
Child trafficking is a growing problem. It’s absolutely vital that we do everything we can to abolish criminal gangs looking to exploit children.
Although children brought up in the child welfare system are most vulnerable, criminals will still target children from all areas of society — using malicious tactics to lure them away from safety and into the child trafficking system.
You must take all the necessary steps to prevent your child from falling victim to child trafficking. By using a combination of GPS tracking devices, social media monitoring apps, and educating your kids to respond to threats correctly, you will help to safeguard your children from the dangers posed by child trafficking gangs.
If you know someone who would benefit from reading this article, please share it with them, and help us raise awareness to eliminate child trafficking.