Today was the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Human Trafficking Summit. Some very scary, real stories were told and there were many discussions among law enforcement, organizations and survivors. You can follow the dialogue on Twitter at #Trafficking2012. The post below offers some tips for parents to keep their kids safe.
Every teen gets in fights with their parents and feels like they are misunderstood. If they find someone who will shower them with gifts, listen to their problems, always be there for them, they will latch onto them. They don’t know or think they are in danger. They see the person as a friend. They don’t know they are entering a cycle of abuse that will force them to be victims of human trafficking.
Where is one place teens love to hang out? The mall. But malls are key locations for traffickers and gangs too. So how can you help your kids stay safe? Talk to them.
Build honest relationships with your children. If kid acting out, sit down and listen – what is going on? Don’t take their response personally. If parents can’t talk to the child, maybe an aunt or family friend can be their sounding board.
Be honest about your own experiences. By being real with them it will encourage them to talk to you and confide in you.
Human Trafficking Summit keynote speaker Tina Frunt, an advocate and survivor with Courtney’s House, shared a story today about her daughter: A “producer” wanted to “cut a track,” with her daughter and go to a studio (this means he wanted to make a tap of her singing/rapping a song). She told the guy her mom would want all the info – website, phone number, and his name to run against the sex offender list. Be sure your kids are prepared!
If you don’t have open, honest conversation with your kids, someone else will. You don’t want that to happen. Be there for your children – let them know you can talk to them about anything, and mean it.