Sex trafficking has been confirmed in all 50 states. While some experiences may contribute to vulnerability to exploitation, children of all socio-economic classes have been victimized. Right now, school-age youth are spending an unprecedented amount of time on devices connected to the internet. The FBI has warned parents, educators, caregivers, and children about the dangers of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse during this time.
Did you know that 1 in 3 sex trafficking survivors says that this technology was used as part of their sex trafficking victimization?
Online safety and privacy are important for adults and youth alike. It is important to practice healthy online behavior in your home. Over 70% of 9-17 year olds will encounter nudity or content of a sexual nature online. Additionally, the FBI has warned that there is a threat of individuals posing as minors on popular social media or social networks to lure victims in lieu of immediate, in person ruse with the intent to abduct. There are steps you can take now to be safe and keep predators out.
Check with your children to see if their social media and online accounts are private.
Set parental controls on phones, apps, and websites.
Be aware of possession of a cell phone not provided by you, the parent/guardian.
Make sure you know what your children are doing online and check on them if they are in their rooms for long interrupted periods of time
Remind children to never give out their full name, address, phone number, school name or other personal identifying information to people on the internet.
Talk about what is appropriate to post online and what is not. Do not post nude, partially nude, or revealing photos. Once an image is online, it can be saved, used, and shared beyond your control.
Ask your children about who they are talking to online. Encourage caution when talking to people online. Unfortunately, sometimes an online personality can be a predator.
Pay attention to the use of trafficking-related terms like “Trick,” “The Life,” or “The Game.”
Children about clicking on online ads or pursuing a purchase through an ad. Some ads are used to trick the user into sharing personal information.
The key to practicing safety is by having face-to-face, open conversations with your children. Once you have created a safe virtual space, empower your child(ren) to talk with you if they see or hear something that is a red flag. Keeping virtual conversations safe is a key part of protecting youth and we can do this by being involved and engaged (not helicopter) parents.
We recommend the webinar Online Safety Training for Parents, Caregivers, and Community Members.
Ho‘ōla Nā Pua believes that every child should have a clear path to their bright future. To prevent a threat to that path, we provide educational presentations to students during school-time. Additionally we train the adults in their lives to intervene and respond, including teachers, parents, caregivers, custodians, and frontline workers.
Customized Training for Professionals
Professionals who work with youth are uniquely positioned to intervene and create safe spaces for youth. Outside of school, there are multiple professionals that may come into contact with high-risk youth who are being trafficked or are currently experiencing exploitation. There are many layers of training and policy to navigate and intervene in keeping youth safe. Ho‘ōla Nā Pua provides professional training to a broad range of adults who interface with youth at critical points of intervention. These include healthcare workers, law enforcement, military personnel, social workers, and tourism industry professionals.
Each of these professionals may have the opportunity to intervene at a critical juncture; a healthcare worker seeing a child with injuries sustained from abuse and exploitation; an officer who is called to a scene where an adult speaks on behalf of a child that may be a victim; a front desk hotel employee who books a room for a guest who pays cash and seems to be controlling a youth who looks scared.
Each training is customized and provides foundational understanding of the issue and appropriate trauma-informed response. The training material, although all thoroughly rooted in research and best practices, is adapted to fit the audience members’ role in helping to stop trafficking.
An explanation of the definition of sex trafficking
Prevalence nationally and locally
Who is vulnerable
The economics of the commercial sexual exploitation
Impact of trafficking
Trainings are developed so trainees understand their sector’s role in the community response. Ho‘ōla Nā Pua works closely with law enforcement partners to provide these professional trainings. We believe it is important to equip individuals with knowledge and practical skills to appropriately take action when they suspect trafficking in the community. Everyone in our community plays a role in ending the exploitation of our children.
We also recommend webinars Trauma-Informed Care, and Understanding CSEC Trauma
School settings provide the opportunity to promote and support the healthy development of children. Ho‘ōla Nā Pua delivers presentations as part of a class curriculum about the dangers of sex trafficking.
Presentations fulfill two goals:
As teachers, you promote academic success and nurture the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of your students.
By providing educational presentations, which encourage safe and healthy behaviors, youth are more likely to be safe and less likely to experience academic difficulties.
Ho‘ōla Nā Pua in-class presentations answer the following questions:
What is sex trafficking?
Who is at risk?
Why is it common in Hawai‘i?
What are the warning signs?
What are the dangers of social media, online gaming, and the internet?
How can I get help for myself or somebody else?
After attending presentations, 89% of students stated confidence they can recognize warning signs; 91% understood people can be recruited off of social media and gaming, and 91% now know who to contact for help.
We have curriculum available for 5th grade through 12th grade.
To request a presentation for your students or school community, please contact: Tim Hitchens, MSW, Education Program Manager at [email protected].
Share the Light
“Ho`ōla Nā Pua, meaning ‘New Life for Our Children,’ was founded to shine light onto the dark criminal enterprise of sex trafficking, placing the health of Hawaii’s youth at the center of our mission and vision for our community.”