Hybrid Parenting recently had the opportunity to interview Betty Ann Boeving, who is the Founder of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition (BAATC). We spoke about what parents need to know and how parents can protect their children from human trafficking in the United States.
This year the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition (BAATC) is rallying thousands of people and over 50 non-profits in the Bay Area to stand up against human trafficking at the Freedom Summit 2015 on May 9th at the Levi’s Stadium. The goal is to prevent a major influx of trafficking in 2016, when the Bay Area will host the Super Bowl, which is commonly known as the “single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.”
Talk To Your Children
Talk to your children about human trafficking issues. Human Trafficking or Modern-Day Slavery is trading an individual against their will and profiting from them for the purposes of sex slavery, forced labor, and domestic servitude.
There are a range of issues that can be discussed and you can chose to discuss topics that are developmentally-appropriate for your children.
The expansive definition of human trafficking involves consumer choices. Children should learn about the ways in which their consumer choices such as buying chocolate products may be promoting child trafficking. There are children in developing countries (e.g., off the Ivory Coast) that are being forced to work on Cocoa fields and are known as Chocolate’s Child’s Slaves.
California is the 8th largest economy in the world. The decisions we make today, are impacting the global slave industry. We can consciously choose to support products and services that do not connect back to human trafficking. We can help our children make choices that will impact generations that are to come. To help children make connections to their day-to-day lives, have children complete their own Slavery Footprint. This footprint informs them about brands that are currently being investigated for child labor.
During the school-age years, parents can discuss consumer choices, child labor, and the consequences for child trafficking, such as not being able to get a proper education. As children get older, it will be important to talk to them about individuals who may try to take advantage of them, such as online predators. Unfortunately, there have been several cases in the Bay Area with teenagers who were taken from their homes to be solicited for underage prostitution.
How to Protect Your Children
Communicate with your child. Rather than having one “big conversation” about human trafficking, have many conversations throughout their lives. Create open lines of communication, so that your child can come to you regardless of the problem and/or situation.
Be able to locate your child at all times. Most teenagers have a cell phone. Make sure you can locate it regardless of what your teen believes. Major wireless service provides (AT&T, Sprint) offer “Family Locator” plans.*
Monitor your child’s internet use. Place computers in a common area so you know what is happening. Predators prey on children who are able to browse the internet freely. They gain their trust online before meeting them in person. Make sure children know that they are never to give out personal information to strangers.*
Know what your child is doing online. Get a facebook, instagram, or snapchat account and follow them. Teach them about what to post and what not to post. Many children post too much information about their lives. Teach them how to use discretion.*
*Source: Trust AZ.org