According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 2018 over 400,000 kids were reported missing to law enforcement. Of those, how many will end up being exploited or subjected to trafficking?
Based on our experience, a long history of childhood abuse, sexual abuse in particular, and neglect at home had already existed in a human trafficking victim's life before they were trafficked.
"Stranger danger" no longer applies in the world of social media where everyone is a friend and finding a place or person to feel accepted online feels safer than in person.
Prevention and intervention education programs that focus on a child's personal safety and safe surroundings, as well as healthy and strong boundaries is critical. Let kids know that they matter.
WHY I MATTER
"Why I Matter" is a pilot project for local schools and youth programs, using a combination of human trafficking awareness education, how youth can learn to look out for each other, and strength-based healthy relationships activities.
Questions you can ask kids on how they feel about personal safety:
1. Why might some kids be afraid to ask for help?
2. Can you name three people who you feel safe with?
3. What do you look for in a role model? Do you have anyone like that in your life?
4. How do you feel about keeping secrets? Is there a difference between a good secret and a bad secret?
5. What does being taken advantage of feel like? Look like?
6. How can we help you better prepare yourself to make decisions in a world that isn't always nice?
7. What type of things do you think predators try to do?
8. Why do kids matter?