No different from adults, our children are also in great danger of being trafficked. Children are often trafficked, employed and exploited because, compared to adults, they are more vulnerable, cheaper to hire and are less likely to demand higher wages or better working conditions.
Our children are being trafficked for forced labor, domestic work, as child soldiers, as camel jockeys, for begging, work on construction sites and plantations but most children are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Statistics show that 27% of the victims of human trafficking are 17 years of age or younger. In 2006, the US State Department reported that one million children are exploited in the global sex trade. Today this number is much higher. Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Child trafficking can occur when children are abducted from the streets, sold into sexual slavery or forced into marriage by relatives, or in any place where traffickers, pimps and recruiters prey upon a child’s vulnerabilities. Is your child vulnerable to becoming a victim?
You may think that this can only happen to those boys and girls enslaved in Cambodia, to those kids that come from broken families or from within the foster care system. But the reality is that it can happen to your family, too. Often times, these children are looking for an escape and for the one thing they say they didn’t find at home, love and care.
When we first learn about trafficking, the first thing that comes to mind is how to protect our own children from becoming victims. The purpose of this series will be to give parents and care givers some insights and tools on how to talk to their children of various age groups and maturity levels about Human Trafficking of Children.
We need to stand strong, protect our loved ones and tell people that this is going on in our own neighborhoods, leading them to take notice and make this stop.
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KNOW WEHER YOUR CHILDREN ARE
Written by Fabiola Oliveira, Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Christian Fellowship of Boston