What is sex trafficking?  Sex trafficking is forced prostitution, pornography or stripping for money or the victim is a minor.

Who's at-risk? Girls ages 14-16 are most at-risk for becoming sex slaves.  Kids who runaway or are abused are high-risk, but this doesn’t mean other girls aren’t at risk.  Traffickers spend time on social media sites, as well as schools, malls and bus stops.  They use the “lover-boy” technique and promise love, gifts, affection - whatever the girl feels she is missing.  Eventually, they force the girl into prostitution or pornography.  These girls are kept enslaved through mental and physical abuse and even threats against their families.

How Do I Stay Safe and Keep Others Safe? Be careful who you trust on social media sites.  Don’t send naked pictures of yourself, as girls report becoming enslaved out of fear of their pictures being released.  Don’t travel great distances with a new boyfriend or friend.  If your “boyfriend” wants you to limit contact with family and friends, is jealous, is demanding about sex or makes promises that sound too good to be true- these are red flags to get out.

What if I’m a victim of sex trafficking or I know someone who needs help? Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or Text: HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).  They will help you get the resources you need to get help and stay safe.

What are signs of a victim or a trafficker? credit: sharedhope.com warnings sex trafficking

How can I help? Be sure that you, your friends, and your family aren’t supporting sex trafficking by paying for prostitutes or strippers or watching pornography.  Get educated and get involved.  Look up local awareness and advocacy organizations in your community to see how you can help.

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About the Author

kristenhodges

Kristen lives in Florida with her awesome husband and 3 energetic kids. She earned a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a psychology professor at a local university. In her free time, she hangs out with family and friends, volunteers at her church and laughs as much as possible. She has a passion for Jesus, helping others and anything chocolate. Follow her on instagram @kristen_hodges_cg