Recently I posted an article on the dangers of human trafficking. It quickly became one of my top most read articles.
Make no mistake, “human trafficking” is a worthless politically correct term for modern day slavery. It is a blight across all socioeconomic lines, genders and nationalities. No one is really ‘safe’ from human trafficking.
That’s why it’s important to know the signs of human trafficking to be able to protect yourself and your children. Let’s expose the greatest tool in the arsenal of the trafficker: voluntary compliance.
You may have a mental picture of a young girl being abducted as soon as she steps out of her suburban home never to be seen again. While these types of abductions happen, the most common tool that traffickers use is convincing their victims to go with them. This is called gaining voluntary compliance from their victim.
Many traffickers take their time in grooming their victims. They are masters of deception, this is a game to them. It’s much easier to romance an impressionable teen and convince them to meet up than to stage a hostile abduction in broad daylight.
Why risk being caught in a high stakes grab when they can simply convince someone to happily go with them?
The Set Up
Once a trafficker has first contact with a target, he may begin to form a relationship, slowly. Nothing dubious at first. A friendship forms as they chat or text daily. Then the trafficker takes it up a notch by talking about a relationship, life together and of course love.
The next step may be a passionate request for erotic pictures. While to the adult brain this is a red flag, to a young mind in today’s world it may seem typical. But when the master manipulator weaves his words compliance is gained. He now has pictures he can sell and also use as leverage later.
Next the trafficker should start to pit parents against them and their love. He’ll say that there is no way their parents will understand how they feel about each other. Isn’t that a common feeling among teenage couples?
Finally a trafficker wants to meet in secret. He’ll convince his target to lie to their parents about their plans. The secret meeting may be as innocent as a trip for ice cream. But once the trafficker has his target in his car things change.
From here things can go a hundred terrible ways but one thing is constant, the child is gone.
Traffickers don’t make their intentions clear, ever. It may take weeks for a victim to realize that they’ve been taken if they even realize it at all. Many victims are so “romanced” by their captor that they think a life of prostitution and drug abuse is a normal life.
If romancing doesn’t work then they use intense physical and emotional abuse to maintain their dominance and keep their victim compliant. This sounds horrific to us. But to a young mind who’s had positive affirmation, physical affection and words like “love” whispered in their ear - it’s normal.
How can someone who says they love them be a monster?
How to Defend Your Children
So how do you combat the powerful draw of voluntary compliance? You have to know who your kids are talking to in person, online and text. If that means taking their smartphones, do it! Their lives are worth it.
When we were kids in the 80s and 90s we wanted our privacy. I know I did, especially as a teenager. I was just trying to find myself and my parents were respectful of that. With social media and 24/7 access to the world via a smartphone - it’s an entirely new ballgame for our kids.
Understand this: Your children’s privacy can’t be treated the same way our parents treated ours 20 years ago.
The world has changed and changed again since we were teenagers. While that may not seem so long ago on a calendar, multiple digital generations and social norms have come and gone since our teenage years.
Tell your children how valuable they are to you and to their friends. An empowered, emotionally balanced child has a better chance of resisting false flattery with critical thinking. Hold a family meeting where you discuss the danger of human trafficking and what it looks like. The more informed they are, they better off everyone will be.
Make it your job to know who your children are communicating with. For a little while they may hate you for it. But when they grow up to become happy, healthy adults it will all be worth it.
For more ways to protect your family, consider The Secure Dad Newsletter.
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