Hello fellow parents! I want to talk about a concern that can affect any family. You have a serious argument with your child and they decide to run away or leave home. As a parent, you worry and fear for their safety. You begin to contact all your child’s friends and start searching for their whereabouts. Your child thinks that leaving or running away from home will solve their problems. However, what your child doesn’t realize is they could be at risk for abduction into human trafficking.
Why is Human Trafficking a Concern?
Human trafficking has become a public health issue and is growing each year across the United States. Sexual exploitation of children has become our country’s fastest growing form of organized crime. Predators target children at schools, malls, parks, gas stations, and public events. In Nebraska, the two times each year human trafficking is the highest is during the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting and the College World Series.
Our children often times don’t realize that even in our local community people can take advantage of them. I’m a believer that by default, as Nebraskans we tend to be friendly, trusting, and live the “Good Life." However, even living in the Midwest we cannot overlook how to support our children’s safety by teaching them the skills to handle stranger danger.
How to Educate Your Kids About Stranger Danger
- Have ongoing discussions with your child in age-appropriate language about what stranger danger means.
- Identify a clear, concise plan of how you expect your child to handle a situation if approached by a stranger. Make sure to educate them about potential safety concerns, i.e. getting a ride home by someone your child does not know.
- Role play a situation to give your child a chance to practice his or her skills.
As with any newly-learned information, remember it takes time for a child to process and demonstrate their skills. It also may be a good idea to provide your child reassurance that these strangers are only a small part of the world we live in; there are so many people who are caring and will not hurt your children - such as your own family and friends. This is important so your child does not develop a fear of being away from home. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you had a proactive discussion that offers your child life lessons about managing stranger danger.