Child trafficking is an alarming global crisis that few know much about. It’s also a serious problem in the United States, where an estimated 200,000 children are at risk of exploitation each year.
Sadly, the exploitation of children continues to be an issue in today’s world. However, many organizations and individuals are working hard to end this injustice. Here are some of the best child trafficking organizations to donate to.
Despite the efforts toward ending this injustice, many people still don’t know much about it. Let’s look at some frequently asked questions regarding child trafficking that you should know.
What is child trafficking?
Human trafficking is the general term for the exploitation of humans for forced labor or sex work. Child trafficking specifically refers to the illegal trade of children for sex, labor, or other exploitative purposes. The difference between human trafficking and child trafficking is that the latter specifically refers to minors – generally defined as anyone under the age of 18.
Child marriage often leads to child trafficking. In many places worldwide, it is acceptable and sometimes even expected for girls to marry as children. Unfortunately, this can lead to a girl being married off to an older man who then sells her into sex trafficking.
What’s the difference between trafficking and smuggling?
Child trafficking is an epidemic that primarily affects innocent minors around the world and right here at home. But what’s the difference between trafficking and smuggling?
We often read about people being smuggled across the Southern border of the US. However, in most cases, those people willingly, albeit illegally, travel across the border. Adult and child victims of trafficking don’t consent, and if they do, it’s coerced.
Children are trafficked from and to all corners of the world, regardless of geographic location, ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status.
How does child trafficking happen?
There are several ways child traffickers take advantage of vulnerable children.
- Grooming – Sometimes traffickers use emotional manipulation to trick children into thinking they are friends or mentors. They gain a child’s trust, earn their loyalty, and convince the child to leave their family.
- Kidnapping – In many cases, traffickers use violence and force to kidnap children off the street and into prostitution or forced labor.
- Imposter – Some traffickers pose as government officials or agents from other organizations, tricking parents into handing their children over to them.
- Fraud – Traffickers may offer false promises of education or a better life to poor parents, then exploit their children for profit.
Who is at risk?
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that approximately half a million children are trafficked annually.
There are several types of kids who are most at risk for trafficking. Homeless children are often forced into sex or labor work to survive.
In the U.S., runaway and homeless youth are also prime targets for traffickers who promise them money, food, and a place to stay.
Kids living in poverty or from single-parent households are at an increased risk of trafficking due to their lack of support systems.
How can we stop child trafficking?
Although it’s not something most people think about daily, child trafficking remains a critical issue that we can no longer ignore.
Many organizations are dedicated to ending the exploitation. Some help children escape their situations and find shelter. Others work to educate people about the issue and find ways to prevent it from happening.
You can help end child trafficking by educating yourself on the signs, knowing how to report suspected trafficking cases, and being willing to help victims escape their situations.