What Every Parent Needs to Know About Sex Trafficking

The number one vulnerability to being trafficked world-wide, for girls and boys, is being raped or molested before the age of eighteen. One in four girls in America will be raped or molested before the age of eighteen, and one in 6-20 boys. That’s a whole lot of vulnerability to exploit. Believing only kids from bad families get recruited is akin to believing only kids from bad families are molested. Though sexual abuse is the single greatest common denominator, things such as low self-esteem, rebellion or the desire for love and attention are powerful vulnerabilities Pimps/Traffickers can exploit.

Demand for commercial sex plays a role in the recruitment of our children as well. While force, fraud and coercion are the common denominators of sex trafficking in every community, the methodology of the business model is unique. For instance, if young black girls are in demand, recruiters will gravitate their supply (victims) toward that demographic. It doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for girls of other demographics though. Sex traffickers are socially connected and if they recruit someone whose “type” isn’t in demand in their area, she will often be sold off to traffickers in areas where her demographic is in demand.

Every decision a sex trafficker makes is filtered through a cost-benefit analysis. How much will it cost to force, fraud or coerce a child into the sex industry? How much time will it take before the child starts making money? Trafficker accounts of cost-benefit analysis consistently indicate childhood vulnerabilities as the “cheapest” avenue to profit. If there is hope for potential victims of sex trafficking, it is here. Children educated to recognize and respond to recruitment methods are less likely to be victims of force, fraud or coercion. If they aren’t easily manipulated traffickers will move on.

Ultimately, when it comes to sex trafficking, the question every parent needs to ask themselves is, “Do I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am equipped to identify the red flags?”. If you cannot answer yes to that question, you need to be trained.

Be proactive, moms and dads. To learn about sex trafficking facts and educational resources in your area, visit The Polaris Project.

Be educated. Be active. Be FREE.

This article was co-authored by Tonya Folks and ElizabethVan Dine.

Elizabeth Van Dine
Elizabeth Van Dine
Elizabeth Van Dine is a wife and mom, writer and editor with a passion for ending modern day slavery. Tonya Folks has worn a lot of hats, including broadcast news journalist, grant writer, community organizer, event coordinator, mother of two boys, wife, follower of Christ, and Master of Public Administration. She is currently working toward her dream of ending modern day slavery.

Related Posts


Recent Stories