Child Sex Trafficking - Protect
All children are at risk of sexual exploitation. Children are inherently vulnerable, and traffickers prey upon vulnerability.
While certain risk factors are common among victims of child sex trafficking — such as abuse or neglect, homelessness, frequent running away incidents, juvenile justice involvement, gang involvement, drug or alcohol addiction — all children are at risk.
Traffickers can often be the very people our children are taught to trust: friends, boyfriends, family members, mentors, and coaches. But exploiters are increasingly making contact with victims online. Traffickers use the internet to lure, groom and victimize children while buyers attempt to use technology to anonymously find and purchase sex. As youth spend more time on the internet, messaging apps, social media, and online games, the crime of online enticement continues to grow. Online enticement involves communicating with a child via the internet with the intent to commit a sexual offense or abduction. Online enticement includes the emerging crime of sextortion, in which exploiters blackmail youth to send them sexual images or to engage in sexual conduct online and/or in person. Sextortion victims are often targeted by someone they met online and who had obtained a sexual image from them through deceit, coercion, or some other method.
CSTT Engages in Strategies to Protect Children
- Providing research-based, age-appropriate prevention education to youth;
- Supporting targeted interventions to reduce the vulnerability of high-risk youth;
- Equipping adults with the knowledge and skills to recognize risks and respond effectively;
- Disrupting the market for victims by deterring potential buyers and decreasing demand.
How You Can Help
- Ask your child’s school what policies, training, and prevention education are in place to address abuse and trafficking
- Become a CASA volunteer or find a mentoring opportunity in your community
- Educate yourself and your family on digital safety
- Join the Network of Nurture
- Love146 Caregiver Guide
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- Office on Trafficking in Persons – Prevention Resources
- TEA Module on Human Trafficking of School-Aged Children
- Unbound – Keeping Students Safe
Programs Supported by Grants from the Office of the Governor
- CEASE Texas: Children at Risk is working to develop a network of Texas cities committed to stopping the demand for commercial sex. CEASE (Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation) communities are engaging male volunteers to raise awareness about exploitation and, in partnership with the EPIK Project, disrupt and deter potential buyers.
- Love146: Not a #Number is an interactive, five-module prevention curriculum designed to teach youth how to protect themselves from human trafficking and exploitation through information, critical thinking, and skill development.
- PROTECT: 3Strands Global Foundation provides Texas schools and youth-serving organizations with online training modules to help better identify and respond to human trafficking. Participants completing the training also have access to age-appropriate, trauma-informed prevention curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school students. Educators and youth-serving organizations have until the end of February 2021 to register for one year of free access. PROTECT has also launched training for Texas school board members to meet the requirements of HB 403.
- Texas Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs: Funding from the Office of the Governor supports implementation of human trafficking prevention and awareness in 30 Boys & Girls Club sites statewide, reaching over 1,200 at-risk youth, ages 8-18. The project provides multiple protective factors that defend boys and girls from both victimization and perpetration: they improve self-esteem and resilience; teach youth about safe use of the Internet and social media; reinforce character, leadership, and positive behavior; and foster healthy connections and supports from safe adults and the surrounding community.
- Texas CASA: Funding from the Office of the Governor helps provide trauma informed advocacy to children in state custody due to evidence of abuse and neglect, including those youth who are at high risk of sexual exploitation because of the complex trauma they’ve suffered.