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Spreading Misinformation About Child Victimization is Doing More Harm Than Good

Child trafficking and child sexual abuse have been getting a lot of attention thanks to the many #SaveOurChildren posts on social media. The increased awareness is important to help protect children, but there is a lot of misinformation, false stories, and conspiracy theories being shared and tied to the #SaveOurChildren campaign that are doing more harm than good.

Child sexual abusers and traffickers are less likely to be members of a secret or hidden organization than they are to be some of your neighbors – a local businessmanpastordoctor, or government official.

Not all Press is “Good Press”.

You may think “What’s the harm? Any awareness is good!” but that isn’t always true. In a recent article, Polaris states, “A barrage of conspiracy-related reports from people with no direct knowledge of trafficking situations can overwhelm services meant for victims.”

These unsubstantiated claims and accusations can mislead well-meaning people into doing more harm than good, cause more trauma to victims, and damage the reputations of organizations leading the fight to stop child sexual abuse and child trafficking. The #SaveOurChildren movement is a valuable concept, but the fabrications being spread along with it is counterproductive.

Here are Some Truths.

Traffickers generally aren’t snatching children from their mother’s arms in the grocery store. The tactic of hauling off screaming children is too risky for them.

Victims of trafficking are usually coerced by someone they know and trust, not by total strangers.

Victims of trafficking are recruited, manipulated, and made dependent using highly effective psychological and emotional ties and manipulation.

There are Ways You Can Help With Prevention.

One way you can help combat child victimization is to educate yourself so you can better prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child victimization like trafficking, child sexual abuse, and online exploitation. We encourage everyone to learn real facts, so they’re prepared to take action if a child is ever in need of help.

Take advantage of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children’s (MBF) FREE one-hour courses on child victimization to help you learn more:

+ Preventing, Recognizing, and Responding to Human Trafficking

+ Recognizing & Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect

+ Protecting Children from Child Sexual Abuse

+ Real World Safety: Protecting Youth Online & Off

 

Additionally, we encourage you to research an article or story’s validity before deciding to share it online. It’s best to stick with stories from credible news groups or organizations that are dedicated to protecting children. Here are a few we support and encourage you to also follow and engage with:

Love 146

Darkness to Light

Thorn

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Prevent Child Abuse America

 

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.

 

Sources:

  1. https://polarisproject.org/blog/2020/07/how-unproven-trafficking-stories-spread-online-and-why-stopping-them-matters/
  2. https://mynorthwest.com/1606339/washington-operation-net-nanny-arrests-november-2019/?

 

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What They're Saying...

The MBF Child Safety Matters program is impressive. This important information is well formulated and well presented, developmentally appropriate, and based on good understanding of literature.

There’s not a child in the world who can’t benefit from this program. There are so many instances where we see children who have been damaged and hurt. Things happened to them and we think, if they’d only had this program, if they’d only had the benefit of this education, that might not have happened to them. If we can prevent that from happening to a single child, then it’s worth all the effort we have put forth.

The MBF Teen Safety Matters curriculum hosts an in-depth approach to important social and safety concerns relevant to youth. The program content is age-appropriate with engaging activities, jargon, and realistic situations to positively promote a relatable and impacting learning experience…Teen Safety Matters is an educational benefit to all parties involved – students, parents, facilitators, and schools.