Taking a Stand: How We Can Combat Human Trafficking and Protect Our Children

Taking a Stand: How We Can Combat Human Trafficking and Protect Our Children

By Jessica Munoz

 

Elizabeth Fisher Good, founder and CEO of The Foundation United, has provided a compelling call to action for all of us who are dedicated to ending the scourge of human trafficking. Her courageous narrative and pioneering work have shone a light on the harrowing reality of sexual exploitation and the urgent need for systemic change. As I reflect on her powerful message, I am compelled to amplify her call to action and share strategies that we, as a community, can implement to safeguard our children and eradicate human trafficking.

The Stark Reality

Human trafficking is a billion-dollar industry that preys on the most vulnerable among us—our children. The average age at which young people become trafficked is a heartbreaking 12-14 years old. This statistic alone should galvanize us into action. Traffickers are cunning and ruthless, employing psychological manipulation, deceit, and control to ensnare their victims. They come in all forms—men and women, young and old—making it essential for us to remain vigilant and proactive.

Equipping Our Youth with Knowledge and Awareness

As Elizabeth Fisher Good rightly emphasizes, education and awareness are critical in the fight against human trafficking. Our children, especially as they gain more independence, must be equipped with the knowledge to protect themselves. Here are some strategies we can share with our older children to help them stay safe:

  • Don’t Go Out Alone: Encourage the buddy system. Traffickers often prey on individuals who are alone and isolated. Whether walking through the neighborhood or visiting the mall, it’s safer to be in the company of a friend or family member.
  • Communicate Your Whereabouts: Teach your children to always inform someone of their location and expected return time. This simple habit can be a lifesaver in emergencies.
  • Control What You Consume: Stress the importance of not consuming unattended food or drinks, especially at parties. Predators often use drugs to disorient their victims.
  • Stay Aware of Your Surroundings: Urge your children to stay alert and be mindful of their environment. Limit distractions, plan exit strategies, and trust their instincts. If something feels off, it probably is.
  • Recognize the Signs of Traffickers: Educate your children about common tactics used by traffickers, such as excessive flattery, gifts, and promises of lucrative opportunities. Encourage them to be skeptical of unsolicited offers and to prioritize their safety over politeness.

The Digital Danger

In today’s digital age, the threat extends beyond the physical world. The internet is a breeding ground for predators who use chatrooms, instant messaging, and social media to exploit children. Shockingly, 89% of sexual advances directed at children occur online. It is imperative that we educate our children about the dangers of online interactions and the importance of not sharing personal information or their location with strangers.

Community Vigilance and Support

The battle against human trafficking requires a united front. As a community, we must be vigilant, supportive, and proactive. If you witness or suspect human trafficking, report it immediately to the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Encouraging open communication with our children is crucial. They must feel safe coming to us with their concerns without fear of judgment or punishment.

Taking Action

As we move forward, let’s commit to making a difference. Here are some steps we can take:

  • Educate: Raise awareness about human trafficking in our communities. Share information, host seminars, and engage in open discussions.
  • Advocate: Support policies and legislation aimed at combating human trafficking and protecting victims.
  • Volunteer: Offer your time and resources to organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking.
  • Donate: Financial support can significantly impact organizations working tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate victims.

A Call to Action

The time to act is now. Let us be inspired by the work of Elizabeth Fisher Good and countless others who are leading the charge against human trafficking. By taking proactive steps, educating our children, and supporting systemic change, we can create a safer world for our youth.

Together, we can turn the tide against human trafficking. Let’s stand united, driven by compassion and determination, to protect our children and eradicate this heinous crime. Join me in this fight. Our collective efforts can and will make a difference.

 

Jessica Munoz

Founder Ho’ōla Nā Pua / Pearl Haven 

Jessica Munoz is a passionate advocate for the protection of children and the eradication of human trafficking. She believes in the power of community and systemic change to create a safer world for future generations.

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