At any given moment, an estimated 40.3 million people are being victimized in situations of trafficking and exploitation worldwide.
Furthermore, 25 percent of these are children.
Allegedly, the online home furniture and decor company, Wayfair, was accused of disguising high priced items with names similar to missing children. This is allegedly the company’s hidden way to traffic said children. Investigations by news outlets and others have deemed these claims as false
A USA Today article about the allegations states, “Claims that the listed products also have the names of missing children are also both cherry-picked and inaccurate. It is very common for retail stores from IKEA to Pottery Barn, Wayfair to Walmart and others to use names for products. The examples of products supposedly matching the names of missing children are a coincidence.”
However, it still sheds light on an important issue. Child trafficking is real, and it exists everywhere.
Here’s some key information that will help create awareness:
What is child trafficking?
Trafficking of children is a form of human trafficking. It is defined by the United Nations as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt” kidnapping of a child for the purpose of slavery, forced labor, and exploitation.
Are some children more vulnerable than others?
Thorn.org states “The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is another term for what we often call child sex trafficking. While anyone can be a victim, we know that kids who are homeless or runaways, LGBTQ, African American or Latino, and youth interacting with the child welfare system are more vulnerable to this type of exploitation.”
It is estimated between 18,000 and 20,000 victims are trafficked into the United States every year.
Are their signs to be on the lookout for regarding victims?
From the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the following are common warning signs from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:
- Excess amount of cash in their possession (reluctant to explain its source)
- Hotel keys and key cards
- Prepaid cell phone
- Sexually explicit profiles on social networking sites
- Homelessness (new or chronic)
- Not enrolled in school or frequent truancy
- Presents false identification or information about age, address, or parents/guardians
- Inconsistent when describing and/or recounting events
- Injuries/signs of physical abuse, neglect or self-harm (reluctant to explain)
- A high number of reported sexual partners at a young age
- Signs of anxiety, depression, submissiveness, tenseness, nervousness
- Fear or avoidance of social interaction
- Presence or fear of another person (commonly a controlling older male/boyfriend)
- Loyalty to toward trafficker and may try to protect them from authorities
- Does not self identify a victim
What can I do to help?
- Educate Yourself
- Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotlinevisit disclaimer page if you have any concerns about a potential trafficking situation. Call 1-888-373-7888, text HELP to BEFREE (233733), or email email@example.com.
- Spread the word
- Think before you shop
- Tell others
- Volunteer locally
- Stay informed
- Register for training
- Use your skills: Can you train or hire survivors? Reach out to potential local partners. Do you work in a school? Propose anti-trafficking protocols Are you an attorney? Offer pro-bono services. Writing a story? Use media best practices. Work in hospitals or clinics? Encourage your colleagues to register for the SOAR to Health and Wellness training.
- Raise your voice
Please spread the message. Tell your friends and family child trafficking is happening anywhere and everywhere. Let them know what they can do to help, and how they can spot a child who may be in danger.