Recognizing The Signs Of Child Sexual Exploitation In Your Community
Human Sex Trafficking is not only a third world problem, it is literally happening all around us. In fact, it's now become one of the top criminal enterprises in the United States. Spotting the signs is key so we are able to alert the authorities and save the victims from further harm. What are these signs? Have you ever suspected something but weren't sure if you should say something? Please read through the 6 most common signs:
Is the child closely guarded?
Does the child seem like they aren't able to talk? Are they always surrounded by an adult? If the child does talk, does their response seem scripted? The trafficker will do anything to ensure the child cannot escape or alert the authorities for help.
Does the child have any signs of physical abuse, such as cigarette burns or tattoos indicating ownership?
Most children that are being trafficked are going to have signs of physical abuse as well as malnourishment. Typical branding tattoos are barcodes, or tattoos that say "Daddy" or a man's name.
Has the child been taken out of school?
Many children don't continue to attend school while being trafficked as they are in contact with school personnel on a regular basis. The trafficker will typically want to isolate the child from the rest of the community.
Does the child's appearance look out of place?
Do they look disheveled or are they wearing clothing they could never afford to buy? Is the clothing the right size or appropriate for the weather? These can be tell-tale signs that something is amiss.
Does the child have a vocabulary with predominantly sexualized words?
Excessive preoccupation with sexual words, sexual body parts and sexual activity is abnormal for a child and can be a key indicator of possible abuse going on in their life.
Are there any signs the person is experiencing emotional trauma as a result of the work they are doing?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real and the signs in children and adolescents are as follows:
- Avoiding situations that make them recall the traumatic event
- Experiencing nightmares or flashbacks about the trauma
- Playing in a way that repeats or recalls the trauma
- Acting impulsively or aggressively
- Feeling nervous or anxious frequently
- Experiencing emotional numbness
- Having trouble focusing at school
After reading through these 6 signs, we hope you have a better idea on how to spot possible signs of sexual exploitation. If you have questions or have suspicions please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888 or go to their website here.
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