SESSION 3: Loving Those Vulnerable to Trafficking, At-Risk Youth

Loving Those Vulnerable to Trafficking 

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According to the Department of Justice, “as many as 300,000 children may become victims of commercial sexual exploitation each year.” Though any child is vulnerable to the lies of a trafficker, there are several groups of youth who are most often exploited. As we aim to fight human trafficking by loving those most vulnerable, we look to care for:

Questions to ask if you suspect that a minor has been trafficked: 

  • Are there signs of child abuse of a sexual nature and reason to believe that the child, or parent/guardian of the child or other person(s) facilitating the abuse, was given or promised anything in return for the sexual abuse?
  • Is there reason to believe there are photographs, social media posts, or other recordings of instance(s) of sexual abuse of the child?
  • Has the parent/guardian been a victim of trafficking or is there concern that the parent/guardian has been a victim?
  • Does the child have a history of multiple runaways/AWOLS or episodes of homelessness/couch surfing in the past? (Family homelessness should not be counted)
  • Does the child have tattoos that show, imply, or suggest ownership and/or that he or she does not have an explanation for? (e.g., daddy’s girl, property of someone’s name, symbols, etc.)
  • Does the child have or has he or she previously had a significantly older boyfriend or girlfriend who is controlling and/or whom the child appears to be afraid of?
  • Does the child have a history of multiple or chronic sexually transmitted infections, or pregnancies/abortions, or report multiple anonymous sexual partners?
  • Does the child have money, a cell phone, hotel keys, or other items that he or she does not have the resources to obtain and cannot account for?
  • Has a gang affiliation been disclosed, reported, or suspected?
  • Is someone else other than the child’s parent or guardian in control of his or her identification or passport?
  • Do you have any other reason to believe the child may be a sex trafficking victim?

Now, read Lexie’s story.

  • How could Lexie’s situation been different? How could her pastors have reacted differently?
  • How is working with “at risk” teens preventing, and intervening in the fight against human trafficking?
  • How can the church love and care for vulnerable youth?

 

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