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