Are children victims of human trafficking?
Since 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people are involved in modern day slavery, including the 24.9 million in forced labor and 15.4 million in a forced marriage. These forced relationships can result in rape and domestic violence but since they are in a contractual marriage, assault is oftentimes overlooked.
However, human trafficking is not only affecting adults, it affects children as well. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children. That is a terrifying statistic.
So, to answer the question of whether or not children are victims of human trafficking? Yes they are, and at an extremely high rate.
Children are targets for human traffickers because of the vulnerability that they possess, giving traffickers the ability to manipulate them with empty promises, romantic relationships, or gifts. Human traffickers see children as vulnerable and easy to manipulate, especially if that child has low self-esteem. They use their ability to make a child feel special in order to gain what it is that they want from them whether it is sexually, physically or mentally.
1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
According to UNICEF, every two minutes, a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation. 1.2 million children alone are being trafficked every year, and this number excludes the millions already in human trafficking situations. UNICEF also reports that approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years.
It is very saddening that children are duped into human trafficking and prostitution rings, but it can happen to anyone regardless of where children are located. Many people have this misconception that human trafficking only happens in foreign countries but that is far from the truth. America is not excluded from human trafficking and our children are not ruled out from being exploited. Human trafficking is happening in our communities all across the nations.
Every two minutes, a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation.
According to Katariina Rosenblatt, who wrote the book, “Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor,” many perpetrators of human trafficking were trafficked themselves. Many were picked up when they were children or entering their teens, and because this is the only life that they know, they continue the cycle and become traffickers themselves. That is how the cycle of human trafficking continues to grow and grow at such rapid rates until someone can break through the chains.
Children are like sponges when it comes to information and the first people they are expected to look up to and want to imitate are their parents. That’s why it is important for parents to be their child’s first cheerleader and motivator. Human traffickers tend to target children with low self-esteem, inactive parents and no sense of belonging. But if children are already receiving that love and support at home, it will make it easier for children to avoid human traffickers because they are not the type to be easily manipulated.
Explaining to our children the dangers and red flags that come with human trafficking is a hard conversation, but a necessary one. They need to be aware of the world around them, but at the end of the day, it all starts with love and affection. If we can help motivate them and fill them with love so that they do not have to find it within a stranger, then that can be a powerful step in stopping this global issue.
It is not too late to be a part of the impact!
Right now, thousands of people around the world are taking on the creative challenge of wearing a dress or tie in the month of December. The reason? To bring freedom to the 40+ million around the world still trapped in slavery. Your donation or participation in Dressember 2018 is part of a movement to end human trafficking for good.
About the Author
Kendra Martin is currently a senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville studying mass communications with a minor in applied communications. She is excited to be apart of the Dressember family, learn from everyone involved and to help end the fight against human trafficking. She loves listening to music, writing in her journal, reading multiple books at a time, sunflowers, corny puns and sleeping in.