Thursday, June 5, 2014

The industry of human trafficking and sex slavery is utilizing 21st-century digital media to target children.

The industry of human trafficking and sex slavery is utilizing 21st-century digital media to target children. How does this work? First, technology abuse and exposure to pornography during childhood can produce promiscuous children and teens who then go on to post sexually suggestive photos on social media. The sex trafficking/slavery industry (pimps) can target these children, befriend them on social media, play online games with them, in an attempt to lure them away for abduction into sex slavery. Children and teens can be tricked into leaving their families to meet with a fantasy online “lover,” only to be abducted by organized criminals for the purpose of sex trafficking. As children and teens use social media excessively and play more games than spending with real people, they are vulnerable to falling prey to online predators on social media, Minecraft, PS3/4 network, Xbox live, and online games. Sex in human trafficking is now more lucrative than narcotics. It has been reported that one pimp with five girls can generate nearly $1 million in revenue annually.

What is the most effective way of safeguarding children and teens? Providing education to children and teens about the human trafficking/sex slavery industry combined with parents who can maintain an open and honest dialogue about online sexual behavior dramatically decrease risk. Children and teens that fear talking to their parents about their online activities are far more likely to be secretive about online risk-taking and mistakes. Hence, the best practice in terms of protecting children and teens is a relationship with parents/caregivers that encourages honest and candid discussions that occur on a regular basis. This solution often makes parents/caregivers uncomfortable because it requires a discussion about human sexuality and online sexual behavior. Many parents opt for parental controls to do the work of keeping their children safe from predatory behavior. Research supports the view, however, that it is parents who can engage in an open and clear discussion about healthy human sexuality as well as the risks of posed by predators that ultimately serve to keep children safe.

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