Child Trafficking – Let’s Work Together to Grow Awareness

If you are a teacher, school administrator, or student age 13-18, please help us raise awareness by sharing this blog, following our campaign on TikTok, or entering the contest. One lucky student team could win $2,500!

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT YOUR PROJECT HAS BEEN EXTENDED

Child trafficking is a huge issue in the United States and around the world. There is not a country, a state or a community that has not been impacted by child trafficking. According to UNICEF, more than three quarters of the children trafficked are within their own countries. One in seven children who are reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children become victims of sexual trafficking, according to Polaris.

The Insidiousness of Child Trafficking

When it comes to child sex trafficking, victimized kids aren’t always being forcefully abducted off the streets. Instead, the perpetrator works to gain the trust of the child, manipulating them and often making promises – of acting and modeling careers or a safe place to live – that make them go with the perpetrator willingly. Not all traffickers are strangers, either – some of them are family members. Often, the only way these children escape trafficking is when someone on the outside recognizes the signs.

Signs of Child Trafficking

Not all children are exploited for sex trafficking. Many are exploited for labor as well. The signs of child labor trafficking include:

  • Fear of police or authorities
  • Inordinate amounts of time spent doing “chores” or working
  • Signs of physical or psychological trauma
  • Unwillingness to talk about their living situations
  • Limited freedom of movement
  • Limited access to medical care
  • Frequent moves

Sexual exploitation of children can be difficult to recognize, but there are signs to watch for. These include:

  • Children living in hotels (hotels and other housing are often used as brothels)
  • Frequently moving from one community to another
  • Sleeping where they work
  • Having a limited amount of clothing
  • Sexualized clothing or behavior inconsistent with their age
  • Limited movement without supervision
  • Addiction issues

Raising Awareness to Stop Child Trafficking

There are a number of agencies endeavoring to halt child trafficking. But these efforts are going to take all of us becoming more aware of the signs, asking questions, and reporting suspected trafficking. In partnership with Intouch Group, we are working with the Rotary Clubs of Kansas and Missouri to raise awareness of child trafficking, by means of a special contest aimed at inspiring high school students.

About the Students Stopping Traffic Contest

Students can work independently or in teams (no more than 6 members per team) to come up with their ideas or proposals. These “traffic stopping” ideas may be submitted  to submissions@studentsstoppingtraffic.org. Finalists will be asked to present their ideas (via video conference) to a panel of judges that will select the winning ideas. First-, second-, and third-place cash prizes will be awarded to the winning students or teams. The first-place winner will also have the opportunity to work with the award-winning advertising agency, Intouch Group, to bring their idea to life.

Students Can Play a Big Role in Increasing Awareness

Not only are we excited to see the creative efforts of the students who participate in the contest, but we’re hoping that raising awareness among our youth can make a difference. Students may be more likely to recognize the signs of child trafficking. As peers of a trafficked individual, students may more readily sense that something about the situation is off; as well, the trafficking victim may be more likely to confide in a peer than in an adult.

Teachers: We Need Your Help!

Teachers, this nationwide contest needs your help. We know it’s a busy time of year, but we would be grateful if you could share information about this contest with your students.

  • Encourage students to get involved (extra credit?).
  • Share information with students about the contest and how to enter.
  • Share this information with your colleagues.
  • Are you on TikTok? Share our campaign videos with your followers!
  • You can also share our posts about the contest on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Print our poster to hang in your room. Download it here.

Let’s All Work Together to Stop Child Trafficking

In 2019, 11,500 human trafficking cases were reported in the United States; around two-thirds of those reports were for sex trafficking. As with most public health issues, awareness is the key to prevention. And the prevention of human trafficking demands everyone’s involvement as we strive to make others aware. The Students Stopping Traffic contest is open to students aged 13-18. Finalists will be asked to present their ideas to a panel of judges via video conference. More information about the contest – including FAQ’s, a scoring rubric, and resources for students – is available on the website at https://studentsstoppingtraffic.com/.