A child in an abusive home is at high risk for getting caught in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking according to current research. The damage done to the psyche from physical, emotional or sexual abuse leaves a child extremely vulnerable to anyone who will show some attention and bestow some sense of worth upon him or her. These children are the ones sought out by exploiters because they have a fundamental belief that they don’t deserve anything better than more abuse.
Child sex trafficking then becomes the most egregious and devastating form of child violence. Sadly, because the scenario involves the selling of sex, these minors often go unnoticed by the system and are not classified as abused. Instead, they are sometimes criminalized themselves. Additionally, perpetrators are rarely caught, charged and convicted.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. In an excerpt of the Presidential Proclamation for the month, President Barack Obama asserts that the biggest part of prevention of child abuse is having healthy families.
“Over half a million American children suffer neglect or abuse every year. A strong and well-informed family unit is the surest defense against child abuse, and parents and caregivers who have support from relatives, friends, neighbors, and their communities are more likely to provide safe and healthy homes for their children. Trusted friends and active community members can help ensure families get the support they need by offering their time and resources, taking an active role in children’s lives, and fostering a safe environment for young people to learn and grow. By coming together in service to our communities, we do more to meet our obligation to do right by the next generation.”
The President’s number of abused children is low by commonly cited reports, the most recent from ChildHelp indicating that 6 million US children suffer abuse and neglect every year. Representing about one in 12 children, this figure shows a huge fail in American families and culture for achieving the goal of being safe and healthy places for minors.
Since abused children are far more likely to become abusers or victims of further abuse and/or trafficking, it makes sense to aim prevention efforts at the families. But, what does it take to turn around a whole generation of families that are abusive and dysfunctional before these values become inculcated into their children? President Obama hit on some key points. Healthy members of the community need to invest in their extended families, their neighborhoods, schools and religious or civic groups as role models, mentors, support and especially as those who value children.
If we don’t honor our most vulnerable in these ways, they will become easy prey for the profiteers who choose to sexually exploit the emotionally damaged ones.
If you suspect a child is being abused, please call the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1 800-4-A-child (1 800 422-4453).
Filed under: Sex trafficking awareness days | Tagged: Child Abuse Prevention Month, child sex trafficking, Healthy families, Physical abuse of children, President Obama, Sexual abuse | Leave a comment »