The parents playbook is a easy to follow, step by step guide on how to protect your child from child sex crimes and child trafficking. KPA can help you. If you have questions, or need help please contact us. There is no cost for parents to work with KPA, we want to help.
The education of parents and children is a critical first step to eliminating these crimes in our communities. As a parent, the challenge is how to educate yourself. An even bigger challenge is how to educate your children. It's a hard topic, and one that will present hard questions to answer. KPA has put together an easy process for education, including sources for material.
Parent Education: We have broken this down to four topics
1. What: What is it?
2. How: How does it happen and how do I prevent it?
3. Identify: What are the signs?
4. Notify: Who and how do I notify if I become aware of it happening?
What are child sex crimes and child sex trafficking?: Seems like an easy question. However, many states differentiate child sex crimes from child sex trafficking. Although, it is common for the two crimes to go hand in hand. For our education we will define both.
Child Sex Crime: The involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violate the laws or social taboos of society. (Defined by the World Health Organization)
Child Sex Trafficking: Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, child sex trafficking is defined as "the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, soliciting a child for commercial sex, including prostitution and the production of child pornography.
How Does It Happen?: We all like to think these crimes are not happening, but they are happening everywhere all the time. If you question that, take a few minutes and talk to your local law enforcement. Here is how these crimes happen.
1. It is common for the victim to have a feeling of abandonment or loneliness.
2. The criminals control the victim through emotional manipulation. This is very common in trafficked teenage victims. The emotions of someone giving them attention, block the recognition of danger.
3. A victim is manipulated through physical abuse. Typically not at first. Physical abuse typically is used when the victim starts to question the criminal on their conduct. It's used as a way to scare and keep the victim inline. At this point the victim is so scare they choose to comply.
4. Victims are manipulated through the fear of danger to family and friends. Criminals will learn everything possible about the victims life and use it against them. It is very common for victims to be threatened with the death of family and friends if they don't comply.
5. The promise of a better life. Remember, these are children. The promise of an amazing life full everything they could ever possibly imagine is an attractive offer.
6. Child sex crimes and child sex trafficking is a trillion dollar industry. It can happen for the simple greed of money.
Identify: This can be very challenging. Victims often do not report the crime. The state of Wisconsin publishes an at risk indicator with what signs to look for in children. The guide can be downloaded from the below link.
Notify: Don't complicate it. If you think you have identified a victim of a child sex crime or child sex trafficking contact law enforcement immediately. DO NOT HESITATE!
Children's Education: Education varies by age groups. We have grouped these ages below with recommended education. KPA does not believe, or promote our opinions over parents. These are guides for parents to use. A parent knows their child better than anyone, and you decide the right education for your child.
Children between ages 2 and 6 are probably not ready for explicit conversations about human trafficking. But educators and parents can begin helping children develop an understanding of their own inherent worth and the value of every human life.
Respect and care for our bodies
Children at this stage begin learning to care for themselves. They start brushing their own teeth, dressing themselves, and using the bathroom on their own. Use this time as an opportunity to help children understand that we should care for our bodies and treat them with respect. Other people’s bodies deserve our respect, too. Explain that our bodies should never be used to get something we want—even if someone offers a prize, candy, or a toy.
Our right to personal space
Make sure children know they always have the right to ask for personal space. They should respect other people’s personal space as well. If another child or adult makes them feel uncomfortable, then they should tell an adult they trust as soon as possible.
Fairness and equity
When a child witnesses something unfair happening at school, talk about what happened and address their feelings. Reiterate that fairness is one of our core values and should never be compromised.
You might say, “It’s not fair that John took Miguel’s toy truck without asking. And it’s okay for you to feel mad or sad about it.”
Gently help children understand that sometimes life is unfair, but this does not make cruelty and unkindness okay.
Children between ages 7 and 12 have more world experience, abstract thinking skills, and abilities to better express themselves than younger children. They are also more likely to be exposed to upsetting news and online content that is violent or inappropriate. Provide a safe place for kids in this age group to discuss these things and affirm them for coming to you with questions.
Notions of work
Between ages 7 and 12, children begin to understand work as something adults do during the week in exchange for money, which helps them pay for things their families need: food, school supplies, clothes, and their homes.
When children come to visit you at work, or when they ask about your job, consider introducing the concept of forced labor. Explain that many people in the world don’t get to choose their jobs. Many times they are forced to work without being paid fairly, and they may even work in unsafe conditions.
Military and branch services
Older children may begin noticing members of the armed services in their communities. At school, they will start learning about the military in history classes. As these topics come up in conversation, introduce the practice of child soldiering. Explain that some nations have unfair leaders who force children to serve in the military. These children don’t get to go to school, play, read books, or rest.
If the children you parent or teach receive an allowance, start teaching them about fair compensation. You could open the conversation with, “You’re a kid, and you get 5 dollars each week. But do you think it’s fair for an adult to earn 5 dollars per week?”
Explain that some people work for very little money. Highlight the importance of being diligent and doing research about the clothes and food we consume in order to make sure the people behind them are being treated fairly.
Adolescents are better prepared to discuss complex issues but may be less willing to open up to an educator or parent, especially about sensitive topics. Broach the subject anyway, knowing that the information you share may keep your children safe and make them advocates for fair labor practices and healthy relationships.
As they begin dating, adolescents need to know that their bodies are not commodities for others to use for pleasure or money. Emphasize that sexual relationships should always be explicitly consensual, and we should never have to exchange sexual acts for safety.
Labor and demand
Adolescents may not comprehend the economic side of trafficking, particularly if their only understanding of human trafficking is sex trafficking. As they learn about economics and international trade, educators and parents can open discussions about bonded labor and involuntary domestic servitude.
Financial literacy and practices
Adolescents may begin working or have friends who hold jobs while going to school. As they start managing money, teach them how to manage their finances, including reading a paycheck, creating a weekly budget, and saving and giving money. Good habits with money can help adolescents avoid desperate and potentially dangerous financial situations in the future.
Proactive monitoring allows you to know if your child is ever engaged by predators through email, text, social apps, and gaming systems. We highly recommend parents use an application called Bark. You can learn more about Bark by clicking the link below. Don't wait. The truth is parents can never monitor 24/7, they need help, and Bark is the answer.
There is strength in numbers. Communities can leverage that strength and fight back. Here are some recommendations from KPA.
1. Know who is in your community. You can check the national sex offender registry here: https://www.nsopw.gov/
2. Know your municipality laws. Every municipality will have differently policies for sex offenders. Believe it or not, some still have none... Get with your local municipality and understand the laws.
3. Talk to your local law enforcement. Understand what law enforcement is doing in your community to combat child sex crimes and child trafficking.
4. Lobby your local government to tighten the laws. If you don't bring attention to the issue nothing will get done. Fight to protect your kids.
5. Know what your school is doing to protect your kids. Most schools are far behind on protecting students on school devices, email, and social apps. Challenge your school on their abilities to protect the students.
5. Parents talk to Parents. As parents you can establish community groups for this issue. KPA can help you. We can establish local community KPA groups. If you want to lead a local KPA group please contact us.