When I served as an FBI Special Agent and since I became CEO of RAHAB, where we are dedicated to eliminating all forms of physical and spiritual slavery, parents have repeatedly asked me to tell them the places where their children are most vulnerable to sex traffickers.
The logic seemed to be that if parents knew the locations where traffickers lurk, parents simply wouldn’t allow their kids to go there.
My answer to this commonly asked question was always the same: The most dangerous place for your child to be is in an isolated location with an internet-connected device. Typically, I would tell them, that physical space is somewhere in your house, usually in your child’s bedroom with their cell phone or computer.
Today, in most of America, in response to COVID-19, our children have been ordered by the State to be in the location where they are most likely to be preyed upon by predators. We’re supposed to keep our kids in our houses, and our children are mandated to live online to do school.
That, along with the fact that the decision makers, as far as I’ve seen, aren’t addressing this fact, should terrify you.
State after state has mandated our children to be where our kids are most likely to be targeted by an enemy who kills and destroys far more prolifically than Coronavirus.
And yet, there is hope. We are at war against an evil, which manifests in the slavery of human sex trafficking. When you are at war, you define your enemy. You study the enemy’s tactics.
Traffickers’ weapon is deception.
Traffickers scroll social media sites and apps, scanning kids’ profiles to identify those who are vulnerable to fake relationships. By offering attention, honed in on assessed needs and desires, they lure those who are longing for connection and affection.
Both the inoculation against and the antidote to traffickers’ false version of love is the real thing.
Speak the Truth of your child’s value every day. Ensure that even as they are physically disconnected from friends, they experience real affection and real Love every day.
Educate yourself and your family to the dangers that lurk on the internet. Watch your kids’ online profiles. Traffickers shop social media for vulnerable children as easily as adults shop on Amazon.
When kids post about loneliness, longing for a significant other, a desire for cash or material things, frustration with parents who they say don’t understand them, or questions about their sexuality, they’re giving traffickers clues on how to recruit them. At RAHAB, when we ask the youth we mentor what they like most about their traffickers, whom they almost always perceive to be friends or boyfriends, their answer is almost always the same: They listen.
So let’s listen. Pick up enough of what matters to those who matter most to you, to reflect some semblance of the meaning of their words back to them. Whether you agree or not, showing you hear them makes a difference.
The trafficker simply needs to pose as the solution to a presented problem, and then gradually, strategically, the trafficker lures a child in and turns them out to do sexual tricks as a commercial commodity.
Evil does not have to win.
Most families have all the time in the world right now to gather at the dinner table and to have real conversations and to speak the Truth of one another’s value. Don’t waste this time. This is the opportunity to both inoculate against and to provide the antidote to child exploitation.
Evil would take this time to enslave. By delivering Truth and Love, we can turn it upside down for good.
Truth and Love are the answer to eradicating every form of captivity—both spiritual and physical.
As we approach Easter, when we celebrate Truth and Love that came down in the flesh to walk among us and to bring life from death—today, when we are warned of a pandemic and more looming death–this seems a better time than any to speak the Truth of their value to those who matter most to us and to live Love that brings freedom and life.