It’s every family’s worst nightmare—and one of the toughest subjects to discuss—but we can’t afford to stay silent. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and frighteningly, it’s a problem everywhere, including the United States. Thousands of children are trafficked here in the U.S., and they need help being found, rescued and to transition from being victims to survivors.
How do we protect our kids?
Educating our young people on the subject is the first line of defense against traffickers. For obvious reasons, talking about this subject with children could be extremely uncomfortable. UNICEF has created some very accessible materials to ease the burden. How to Talk to Your Kids About Human Trafficking offers key messages and quick facts to keep the discussion clear and concise. A series of lesson plans is also available, categorized by age group and grade level, helpful for classroom discussion with students. These resources can help parents, teachers, and anyone who works with children raise awareness to help end trafficking.
What can we do to help?
Vulnerable children are all around us. One of the first steps to helping is to recognize the signs of a child being trafficked. They include the child:
- Knowing little about his or her whereabouts
- Working excessively long hours
- Showing fear or anxious behavior
- Being hired with false promises
- Having inconsistencies with his or her story
Among the most at-risk populations are homeless and runaway youth. UNICEF believes that support systems for these kids can be improved with the passing of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act. The legislation would improve services and support youth—helping them to recover from their experiences and reunite with their families.
Ending human trafficking begins with awareness. We are key to that process—and with the resources available and reaching out to lawmakers for support, we can all play a part in making progress to protect all children.
Take Action Challenge
Act today by asking your legislators to co-sponsor and support the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act. Whether you write, call, or use the automated form letter, this is a simple and effective action to take for Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Visit UNICEF’s page on Ending Human Trafficking for more information and resources.
If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888.