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‘We’ve Got it All Wrong’ — 5 Myths About Human Trafficking & Protecting Your Kids

Parenting sure isn’t for the faint of heart. Remember when you thought that talking to your kids about sex was uncomfortable? Well, I found a topic that feels even more terrifying. It’s called “How not to get trafficked.”

You may think you know the basics: that human trafficking is really happening in your city and neighborhoods. But you’d be surprised at how subtle this operation really is. This topic is vital today. We can’t afford to skip it.

Your teens and tweens are a trafficker’s target market. Before you think, “Ten seems too early to have such a serious discussion, right? It can wait.” Friends, let me caution you.

Traffickers think your 10-year-old is the perfect age. Which is why this conversation HAS to happen.

Not all 10-year-olds will be at risk in this area. But every kid, boy girl, rich or poor, broken home or seemingly together home — none of these factors change the level of risk our kids face in this area.

So, what does that other kid have that at-risk kids don’t? Parents who are willing to brave the sweaty armpits and foreseeable awkwardness to talk candidly with their kids.

The topic of human trafficking is no longer optional if we want to protect our children. And before you think the words, “My kid would never fall for this,” let me tell you that I have worked with girls who have already been and are currently being trafficked. They come in all ages, shapes, sizes, and families.

Traffickers have made an evil art form out of their work. They are so smooth our kids don’t even know it’s happening. Their approach? To offer your child what they want most in the world. A place to feel loved, special, and noticed.

Here are 5 myths you need to know to protect your kids from human trafficking. 

1. Human trafficking is a result of poverty.

Financial status has nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, the most affluent school in my city holds the record for our highest caseload of trafficked minors. A recent meeting with an FBI agent in the crimes against children department told us point blank, “Your money has nothing to do with it. In fact, it seems to give a false sense of security to communities.” He went on to tell us that abuse, family dysfunction, and addictions take place just as much in high socio-economic areas as in poverty-stricken areas.

What are the top 10 states for human trafficking?

Number of cases in 2016

United States: 20,424;

  1. California: 1,012
  2. Texas: 499
  3. Florida: 410
  4. Ohio: 292
  5. New York: 262
  6. Georgia: 201
  7. Michigan: 190
  8. Illinois: 153
  9. New Jersey: 143
  10. North Carolina: 140

2. Human trafficking is the same as kidnapping.

This myth is too thickly planted in our misunderstanding of human trafficking.

Shontell Brewer
Shontell Brewer
Shontell Brewer is a wife and mother to her five children, ages 20 to 12. She holds a master’s in divinity with an emphasis in urban ministry. Her most recent project is an arts-integrated prevention curriculum for minors trafficked across the nation. She speaks as a prevention specialist to communities affected by sex trafficking. Find her at ShontellBrewer.com, and on Instagram and Facebook at Shontell Brewer. Her book, Missionary Mom is due fall of 2018.

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