A Message for All Parents: Child Sex Trafficking Part 4

SYLVIA McCRORY     MAY 2020

Even if you feel sure child sex trafficking will not affect your family, I hope you will continue to read this article.  Today, I am going to share some signs and characteristics of children who are exploited. My prayer is this will never affect your family, but it is important we are all informed and educated.  There may be a friend of your children or your family who is being trafficked.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children article, Report Child Sex Trafficking to the CyberTipline, there are some red flags or indicators to signal a child is being exploited.  “Several indicators combined can mean it is more likely that a child is being exploited or is actively being targeted and recruited.”  The following information came from the same article from the NCME.

Behavioral Indicators

  • Child has a significant change in behavior, including increased virtual behavior, or associates with a new group of friends
  • Child avoids answering questions or lets others speak for him or her
  • Child appears frightened, resistant, or belligerent to law enforcement
  • Child lies about his or her age and identity
  • Child looks to others before answering questions
  • Child does not ask for help or resists offers to get out of the situation (child does not self-identify as a victim)
  • Child seems coached in talking to law enforcement
  • Child uses trafficking-related terms like “Trick,” The Life,” or “The Game”
  • Child is preoccupied with “getting money” (e.g., displaying photos of cash)

Physical Indicators

  • Child has multiple cell phones and/or electronic devices
  • Child has large amounts of cash or pre-paid credit cards
  • Child has no ID, or ID is held by another person
  • Multiple children are present with an unrelated male or female
  • Child has unusual/unexplained sexual paraphernalia (such as bulk condoms or lubrication)
  • There is evidence the child has been or will be traveling (child is living out of suitcases, at motels, or in a car)
  • Child has a name or symbol tattooed, burned, or branded onto his or her body, particularly when coupled with the child’s reluctance to explain the tattoo, the child’s tattoo matches other children’s tattoos, the tattoo indicates money or ownership. (ex. MOB, barcode, or $)
  • Child references traveling to other cities or states or is not from the current location; the child may also lack knowledge of his or her travel plans, destinations, and/or his or her current location
  • Child has hotel keys, hotel receipts, or other items from a hotel/motel
  • Presence of an overly controlling or abusive “boyfriend” or older female
  • Child is recovered at a hotel, street track, truck stop, or strip club
  • Child has notebooks or slips of paper containing phone numbers, dollar amounts, names, or addresses
  • Child has items or an appearance that does not fit his or her current situation (e.g., a homeless or runaway child who has money, electronics, new clothes, or shoes, and who has his or her hair and nails done)
  • Child references online classified ads or escort websites
  • Child references traveling job opportunities (Including modeling, singing, and/or dancing in a music group, or magazine sales crew)
  • Child has unaddressed medical issues or who goes to the ER or clinic alone, or with an unrelated adult

Please be in prayer for these children.  They are living in an unimaginable nightmare, so far removed from a normal childhood that will never be.  They are so scared and damaged by the trauma, even if they escape, it will take years of therapy to learn to deal with these horrors.

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