talking to teens about trafficking
Everybody can play a powerful role in the fight against trafficking, specifically, in helping with PREVENTION. It can start with meaningful conversations with our own families and with the young people we care about. If you don’t know where to start, you can use these sample words. Imagine for a moment that you are speaking directly to a 13 year old.
“This world is mostly a good place, but not always. In your life, you will encounter people who want to harm you. I want to talk to you about the very serious topics of sex trafficking and grooming. So that if you ever see the signs of it you will recognize it quickly and steer clear. Trafficking is when youth are sold for sex or really anybody of any age is forced into prostitution. And I know what you’re thinking… This would never happen to you and in our community and I hope that is true too!! But just in case, we are not so fortunate, please let me tell you a little more. Sex trafficking sometimes starts with a kidnapping but really that is pretty rare. The more likely scenario is that an older adult grooms a youth into a trusting relationship before the abuse begins. Here are scenarios I want you to look out for: Adults who want to have a secret relationship with you. Adults who shower you with expensive gifts or free drugs. Adults who promise you opportunities that are too good to be true like a path to be a movie star, fashion model or recording artist. Adults who find ways to get physical with you in ways that cross your personal boundaries, like tickling, play fighting, or massage. Adults who want to look at explicit pictures or videos with you. If anybody asks you to do something that you feel uncomfortable with, come talk to me about it. I promise that I WILL BE HELPFUL. I will always help you. And especially watch out for anyone that asks you to exchange nude selfies!! The other person may tell you that everybody does it, or that if you really trusted them you'd do it. But do not believe it. Nothing good can come from it. And if the photos get in the wrong hands, people may use them to try to manipulate you or bully you. If you do share nude selfies, please come tell me about it. Again, I promise I will find a way to help. I don’t ever want you to feel trapped. I CARE ABOUT YOU.”
You can make these words your own, but one of the most powerful safeguards to protect youth against sexual exploitation is them knowing they are surrounded by caring adults.
For more information resources about Prevention resources visit the King County Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children's prevention website: https://www.kingcountycsec.org/prevention