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 trauma caused by prior victimization, 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

Resources

Programs Supported by Grants from the Office of the Governor

  • Texas Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs: The #girlstrong! program provides human trafficking prevention and awareness in communities statewide reaching over 1,000 at-risk girls, ages 8-18. The program provides multiple protective factors that defend girls from vulnerability to involvement in trafficking: they improve girls’ self-esteem and resilience; teach them about safe use of the Internet and social media; and offer daily afterschool guidance and support.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • CEASE (Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation): Children at Risk is working to develop a network of Texas cities committed to stopping the demand for commercial sex. These CEASE communities will be trained and empowered to collaborate with aw enforcement to promote demand reduction efforts, including cyber patrols to disrupt online buyers.