We all remember that time in biology class in 8th grade when our teacher would start teaching the ‘Reproductive System’ and we would all sit and giggle trying to control that awkward feeling. And the time we had one or two sessions a year when we were introduced to good touch and bad touch.

Now that I think of it, I cannot believe how little sex education we received, let alone information about sex trafficking. We received snippets of news and were left to piece the rest together on our own. In a country like India where even conversations about sex are tip-toed around, how are children expected to know about issues like sex trafficking? Traffickers can be disguised as a nice neighbor, friend, or a mere acquaintance, who end up stripping you of your will. This is what makes it crucial to ensure that you are safe from their predatory nature.

Be Aware – BEWARE
Awareness
I assume most parents live in fear of their children being carried off by a stranger when left alone in a crowded place. Hence, we are told not to talk to strangers. But nobody tells us that even a close person or a family member can make us feel uncomfortable. Statistics show that 27% of victims are trafficked by relatives. So, tell kids that it is alright to be rude to an adult who is threatening them to keep his/her dirty secret. In addition to that, teach children contact numbers of parents and emergency contact numbers.

Online Safety
In times like these, when our primary mode of communication is over the internet, I’m pretty sure we’ve made scores of online friends. Sex traffickers have been documented using social media platforms to lure their target into a relationship with the ultimate goal of meeting them in person. It happens in three main phases: scouting, manipulating and trapping. Thus, it is important to trust your instincts, and inform somebody if you believe you or someone you love is falling prey to a sexual predator over the internet.

Stay Alert
It is imperative to keep an eye on your friends, colleagues or classmates. Pay attention to their unexplained absences from school, if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend who is much older, or if there is a sudden change in their behaviour, attire or relationships. Reach out to them if they seem fearful, submissive or paranoid. It is your duty to ensure that they get the help they need.

It takes a special kind of depravity to exploit and hurt the most vulnerable members of our society. Human life is the gift of our creator and it should never be for sale.

George W.Bush

Contributor: Navya Sarah John, Freedom Firm Intern

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