As we reflect on the past year, gather around friends and family to celebrate the joys, triumphs, sorrows, laughter and adventures over the past year, there are many among us who would rather forget the past year and dread the next one.
Trafficking happens in our own backyard and these children are recruited slowly and over time that we don’t even notice the signs.
It’s that friend of your daughters that seems just a little too polished and fits in with her life perfectly. The girlfriend of your son that is overly flirty and makes you slightly uncomfortable with how she behaves around him. It’s that car full of kids being loud and rowdy driving by with the one girl in the back seat not joining in or looking fearful.
Its in those moments, we must act. We do our own gut check to make sure these children are who they say they are, live where they say they live and are up to what they say they are up to. That they do belong to the team your child is on or they are on the honor roll too.
Meet your child’s friend’s parents – often. Invite them over, go over to their house, and ask about their life, their backgrounds. Check into their activities. Now I’m not suggesting you do background checks, as those sometimes, are not accurate. What I am suggesting is you follow up on what someone says when it’s not aligned with how they are being.
Sociopaths are trained liars – however, there are ways to tell if people are lying. Everyone has a ‘tell’ – that think they do when they are not telling the truth. Some people blink – others get defensive – or clears their throat. Paying attending and really listening for what is being said behind the words can help you assess yourself. Are you paranoid or is there something off?
Trust yourself – too many times we fail to do so and know that we should have after the fact. We are talking about children’s lives here – their future and their well-being. Sex trafficking, abuse, neglect all have a ‘tell’. We just need to look up from our computers, phones and TV’s long enough to listen.
And it’s ok if your kids get angry – better an angry child than one who is kidnapped, lured, coerced or recruited into sex trafficking.
You’ll sleep better at night and so will they.