Love Can Create Beautiful Things!September 8, 2015
My Trip to CambodiaJune 28, 2016
By Jen Osgood
As the International Director of Client Services for Rapha House, I get to work with a coalition of stateside organizations and law enforcement to protect all at risk and/or exploited victims. So in this capacity, I want to share some tips to help you prevent becoming a victim and protecting your children.
Some ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of human trafficking
- Knowledge is power! Be aware of how traffickers recruit. There are some great online resources out there.
- Be in the presence of people you know and trust, especially in vulnerable situations (e.g., consuming alcohol).
- Use caution when sharing personal information on social media.
- Never share specifics of where you live, when you are home alone, “check in” at specific locations, your work location and hours, etc.
- Never share about difficult relationships or upsets in your life. Online vulnerability to an unknown audience isn’t safe.
- If trusted friends or family express concern about the health of a relationship (e.g., new boyfriend or girlfriend, best friend), you should seriously reconsider the relationship.
- If you are leaving home because of an abusive situation, find a safe and reputable place to go – traffickers prey on people in vulnerable situations.
- Be wary of attractive employment opportunities, online dating, engagement or marriage arrangements.
- If it seems too good to be true, RECONSIDER! It probably is!
- Do not allow anyone to take possession of your ID or passport.
Protecting Your Children
One of the best ways to protect your children from becoming a victim of trafficking is to model healthy behaviors, relationships and decisions in your own life. Allow them to know about and witness your difficult decisions or relationships (when appropriate and safe, of course). Talk to your kids about your decisions, why you made them, etc. You can allow your child to witness real-life examples of what it looks like to live with confidence, self-worth and boundaries. As the saying goes, children learn what they live, right?!
Some tips for protecting your children
- Set a high standard for “love” in your family – teach your children from the time they are young the difference between real and honest love, and infatuation, empty promises and cheap gifts. Instill in them confidence in their ability to distinguish between what is and is not real love. Make sure they know flattery means nothing.
- Educate yourself about technology and social media – bridge the electronic chasm between you and your kids.
- Monitor social media carefully and educate your kids about online safety. Don’t depend on someone else, like school; do it yourself. You hold primary responsibility for your children’s safety!
- Talk to your kids about sexual abuse and sex trafficking (in an age appropriate way). Knowledge is power.
- Pay attention to your kids and be available to them.
Be able to answer the following questions:
- Who are your children’s friends?
- Where do your children like to go?
- Who do they hang out with at school?
- What are they struggling with emotionally or socially?
- Do they feel like they can go to you if they have a problem?
- What social media apps do they use?
- What are their favorite online games? Why?
While there’s no 100% foolproof way to guarantee complete safety, you can tip the scale in your favor and be prepared in the event the unimaginable ever comes to pass.