Child sex trafficking is a crime behind closed doors that leaves victims to silently suffer. It is time to step up and be their voice. As a Tampa Bay community, let’s learn how victim prevention can increase community awareness and protect our children through education.
Child sex trafficking is a horrific crime that exploits children for the purpose of a commercial sexual act. With social media and technology advancements and updates, the platform to contact and exploit children is continuing to become more accessible for abusers. Right now, there are 150,000 new escort ads posted online every day with an undefinable number of those being children. Of the child victims who have come forward in a recent study, the data shows that 75% reported being advertised online.
Since child sex trafficking has become an easier crime to hide, it can be hard to determine the number of victims and how to help them. While we have law enforcement teams working around the clock to help victims, as a community, we can do our part in educating and enforcing victim prevention. Find out everything you need to know about victim prevention and how it can help save lives!
Definition of Victim Prevention
Victim Prevention is a form of education that teaches the public about child sex trafficking and how we can combat it. Many victim prevention programs are seminars, presentations, or conferences that are led by organizations and nonprofits, such as Bridging Freedom. Victim prevention programs typically cover topics like:
- Healing solutions for victims
- The scale of child sex trafficking across the world
- Defining abusers/traffickers and their tactics for targeting victims
- Local trafficking cases
- Current Florida Legislation
- How to help a potential victim
- Additional resources for victims and families
Why are These Victim Prevention Programs Important?
Since children are taught to rely on grownups for safety, it is our job to provide the proper education and resources for protecting them. Victim prevention does exactly that by giving our community the knowledge and information to help fight against one of the most disturbing crimes against humanity.
These programs are able to reach people in the school boards, medical field, universities, church congregations, society clubs, girls groups, parents, and more. This education gives some of our top trusting leaders in the community the proper training on how to handle different scenarios that they may witness.
Victim prevention programs give parents the resources to educate their children on safety precautions to take. With more audiences being educated, our victims and targeted children will feel more comfortable coming forward with their stories to a trusted adult.
Programs in Tampa | Victim Prevention at Bridging Freedom
At Bridging Freedom, our goal is to break this cycle of abuse. We see that there’s a need in our community for increasing awareness about child sex trafficking. While it may feel like an uncomfortable and heavy topic to address, it is absolutely necessary to normalize starting the conversation. The only way we can start to protect our children and prevent future victims is by having these conversations and educating ourselves on victim prevention. You can learn more about how you can be involved in education and victim prevention at one of our Bridging Freedom presentations! See the link here for more information.
How to Implement Victim Prevention in Your Home
Parents will do anything and everything to protect their children. From picking the right school to giving guidance on how to navigate life, parents want to nurture and teach their children how to make good decisions. The problem is, even with the right parenting, children can fall victim to child sex trafficking and grooming. Traffickers use manipulative tactics to entrap children into their control. That is why it is important to implement victim prevention in your home to teach them what to look out for. Let’s take a look at some ways you can implement these practices into a conversation.
- Who are 5 safe adults you can talk to when someone makes you uncomfortable (verbally or physically)?
- If someone makes you uncomfortable, what are some things you can say?
- What do a healthy relationship and friendship look like? Talk about dynamics and boundaries.
- What information are we not supposed to tell strangers or people that aren’t in our family? (i.e. school, home address, phone number, social media, etc)
- Who do you call in case of an immediate emergency?
- Don’t agree to meet with someone alone without a trusted adult.
- Traffickers will reach out on social media. Keep social media pages private and don’t respond to strangers’ messages. Add parental controls and learn how to block inappropriate accounts.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Do not turn your back on a stranger if you are alone. Stay with a trusted adult or in a group.
- Describe warning signs of sex trafficking.
- Teach them how to trust their gut instinct and what that means when they feel that way.
Check out this YouTube video to learn more about how you can talk to your kids about child sex trafficking.
Bridging Freedom | Restoring Stolen Childhoods
Our experienced team serves as an advocate for restoring stolen childhoods. At Bridging Freedom, we aim to combat domestic minor sex trafficking through our restoration programs for rescued victims by providing a therapeutic safe homes for victims. Aside from providing services for victims, Bridging Freedom aims to educate the community about the horrors going on behind closed doors.
Through partnerships with Clearwater / Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking, Tampa Bay FBI Innocence Lost Initiative, and St. Petersburg College Center for Human Trafficking Awareness, Bridging Freedom can help provide victims with a safe place and connect them to necessary resources. In order to allow us to continue doing what we do, Bridging Freedom relies on the generosity and collaboration of our community of supporters. If you would like to be a part of our group of supporters, you can donate at the page here.