A GUEST POST BY DIANA SCIMONE, director, The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking.
1. Child traffickers have recruiters in your children’s schools--yes, even in the US, the UK, and other western countries.
2. Recruiters are other kids.
3. Child traffickers monitor Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, and other social media sites looking for vulnerable kids. More information is here.
4. They work in malls, including in your city. More information is here.
5. There’s money to be made buying and selling children. Each year more than 100,000 kids are trafficked for sex and labor slavery in the US alone.
6. Human trafficking is organized crime. It’s the second most lucrative illegal industry on the planet (after illegal drugs) and rapidly becoming the top one.
7. These are not “bad” kids, just vulnerable ones.
8. Most kids are rescued because someone saw something that didn’t look right and knew where to call. In the US, call the National Trafficking Resource Center hotline (888) 373-7888. In other countries, call one of these hotlines.
9. There are warning signs. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, here are clues to help identify a trafficking victim: • Accompanied by a controlling person or boss; not speaking on own behalf • Lack of control over personal schedule, money, I.D., travel documents • Transported to or from work; lives and works in the same place • Debt owed to employer/crew leader; inability to leave job • Bruises, depression, fear, overly submissive
10. There are questions you can ask if you think someone is being trafficked. These include: • What type of work do you do? • Are you getting paid? Anything taken out of your pay? • Can you come and go as you please? Are you afraid to leave? Why? • Have you or your family been threatened? • Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the bathroom? • Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
11. Your city likely has an anti-trafficking task force. To find out, Google the name of your city and “human trafficking task force.”
12. There’s plenty of information on the web to keep you aware and help you protect your child. Your child does not have to be a victim. Visit: “Human Trafficking of Children in the US: A Fact Sheet for Schools” published by the US Department of Education, and Child trafficking could be happening in your school (here’s how to tell).
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Diana Scimone is director of The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking. The B2F wordless book and companion curriculum are scheduled for testing in 5 countries this fall, and then will be ready for distribution. Diana blogs regularly about the fight to stop child trafficking at www.dianascimone.com.