As #SaveOurChildren trends in social media and we increase awareness of child trafficking around the globe, many are left asking, “What can I do to help?”
Three primary ways you can help prevent trafficking as well as being part of freeing children from captivity are:
Fostering and adoption helps by eliminating the traffickers’ access to vulnerable children who do not have a family of their own. It is estimated that up to 90% of trafficked children have been involved in the child welfare system. These children’s backgrounds of dysfunctional families and not having a place to belong makes them more vulnerable to the tactics of these predators who lure in their victims by befriending and manipulating them in their weaknesses.
Children who have strong foster and/or adoptive parents are able to debunk some of these vulnerabilities by having a place they belong and the security of being chosen by their families.
You can read it in their own words: Why We Foster tells the story from foster parents’ perspective and From Foster Family to Forever Family is from a former foster child who has found her forever family and thrived in this security.
Mentoring provides children and teens with a reliable adult who can help them by listening to their concerns, helping them with homework, and being a champion for them in school. Through this relationship - and the trust built - it allows a mentor to be close enough to the child/teen to be aware of any risky behaviors or relationships that may be in their lives. With this awareness, there is an opportunity to guide and protect your mentee. Also, this close relationship will give you the needed information to be able to report the suspected trafficking to the proper authorities to help your mentored child - and quite possibly save their life. For more information about mentoring, see: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or Mentoring | Youth.gov.
Volunteering with existing trafficking organizations allows you to get involved with people already working tirelessly to change the lives of the victims and to free them from this horrible grip. Just imagine how many lives you can save, or even be part of the change in, if you reach out to share your time and talents in one of these organizations. Without our help, the children/teens are suffering and the traffickers continue to be able to expand their influence on our children.
Our Underground Railroad has a training course to help you learn the signs of trafficking and what to do about it when you recognize something. But there are other organizations focused on ending child trafficking as well: Save the Children, Human Trafficking Hotline, and End Slavery Now are three that have been recommended and are all worth checking out to see how your passions can help them as they work, too.
While sharing social media posts with a meaningful hashtag is essential to spreading the word, people need to DO something. We need to get involved and participate in these children’s’ lives before the wrong person does. Will you step up to prevent child trafficking?