Today, January 11, marks the start of National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children established a Child Sex Trafficking Team in 2011 that specializes in providing technical assistance, analysis and recovery services for cases involving child sex trafficking. NCMEC provides “Hope Bags” which contain basic necessities such as toiletries, shoes, snacks and a change of clothes that can be given to recovered victims.
This year, NCMEC has partnered with A21, a global non-profit working to combat human trafficking on a new PSA, Can You See Me?.
The PSA, featuring actress Ashley Greene from the Twilight saga, depicts a what it may look like when a child is being sex trafficked. The child in the video is still going to school but her behavior, clothing, and demeanor all change once she becomes a victim of sex trafficking. Traffickers often prey upon a child’s vulnerability and use psychological pressure and intimidation to control the child for financial benefit relating to their sexual exploitation. This happens in every state and every community across the country. Sex traffickers do not discriminate.
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Credit – National Center for Missing & Exploited Children or NCMEC)
Indicators you will see play out in the PSA include, but are not limited to:
- Tattoos or other marking indicating “ownership” by the perpetrator
- Child starts isolating themselves from friends and family
- Change in clothing style or appearance – starts dressing provocative
- The “boyfriend” or older female starts exerting control over child
For a full list of potential risk factors and identifiers and other information can be found on NCMEC's website .
The public can report suspect child sex trafficking to NCMEC through the CyberTipline or by calling NCMEC’s 24 hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).