Parenting, Tips and Tricks

Sadly, Sex Trafficking is an American Epidemic – How to Talk to Your Teens

Photo by Laura Wielo on Unsplash

I hate to even say those 2 words – Sex Trafficking or Child Abuse. 2 of the worst topics we have to discuss as a family, but how do we have that conversation? What age should we start making our children aware of this horrible epidemic?

I have found these 5 tips for parents about opening the dialogue with young children and pre-teens about child abuse and sex traffic recruitment prevention. We must talk about it because communication is the most powerful safety tool we have as parents!

The tips are excerpted from Selah Freedom’s Prevention Program that equips parents, youth and those who work with them, with the tools they need to avoid being manipulated by a trafficker and successfully prevents girls from being commercially sold.

Tip #1: Conversation Starters

For younger children, talk about safe vs. unsafe touch. Encourage your child to use their voice. Have your child identify their trust triangle (3 safe adults they can talk to). Explain the difference between secrets vs. surprises

Talk about safe screens. Create a safety plan on what they can do if they don’t feel safe. If you suspect child abuse or trafficking, notify authorities immediately and keep our child safe by letting police handle it

Ask your pre-teen, “what qualities do you want in a relationship?” “How would you know you are unsafe online or in a relationship?” “How would you respond to an unsafe conversation or person that made you feel uncomfortable?”

Tip #2: Communication

Ask your child what they know about this topic and discuss the facts and myths. Identify safety measures that your family can put in place and role-play different scenarios. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of humor and assure your child that it is ok to have this conversation.

Listen to your child speak without interrupting, judging or criticizing.

Tip #3: Education

Check out “” with your child for Safety Tips; Videos/Documentaries/Helpful Links. Give youth access to resources and safe contacts. Stay in the loop and check out new apps as youth are using them. Remember to use parental controls on your children’s cell phones to prevent internet solicitation & pornography.

Tip #4: Spotting The Signs

Sexual knowledge and experience beyond their years. Hyper-awareness of genital area, touching, discussing, etc. with themselves or other children/teens. History of emotional, physical and sexual abuse in families
Fear/hesitance of adult (s) or being alone with a particular person

Tip #5: Keep Up the Dialogue

It’s not “one and done” …. keep the conversation going with your kids each year as they are growing up and maturing.

For more resources that will help parents teach their children and teens about the signs of child abuse and sex trafficking recruitment and prevention, visit:

SEX, LIES & MEDIA: Through our cutting-edge, multi-media Sex, Lies & Media presentation, we will educate parents and students on the online recruitment tactics of predators and equip them with practical ways to discuss this issue, protect themselves online, and be a part of the solution. This presentation can take 1-2 hours and may be presented specifically to teens or to parents/adults working with teens.

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