Advocacy

Published on March 14th, 2015 | by MelShaferHS

Human Trafficking and Foster Youth

So summer is coming to an end and the holidays are right around the corner! No plans yet? Not sure what to do for Thanksgiving or Christmas? See my previous blog about what the Stockton and surrounding communities have to offer for activities and free resources!

The holiday season is also prime time for crime and illegal activity so I wanted to discuss some safety issues in the next few blogs. I wanted to share some important information about human trafficking because there does not seem to be enough education and resources surrounding this tough topic. One of the ways you can stay safe is by being aware of the facts and your surroundings at all times. If you or someone you know has experienced any strangers approaching you or anything described in the hints below then please report it immediately including the incident and the exact location that it took place. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Predators are people who prey on victims and look for young people between the ages of 11 and 13 years old who seem vulnerable and these predators prey on any weaknesses
  • Predators come in all shapes and sizes young and old, male and female; and they can be your neighbor or stranger in a mall or store, just be cautious at all times when someone you do not know approaches you
  • Predators begin a process called “grooming” in which they gain the victim’s trust and build a relationship with the victim in order to recruit them
  • Predators wait outside areas where youth are at high risk such as group homes, corner stores, malls and detention centers. Human trafficking is NOT a foreign issue it happens every day in our own communities and surrounding cities.

Some sobering facts:

  • In 2012 alone, studies show that between 50 and 80% of commercially sexually exploited children in California are or were involved with the child welfare system
  • Out of 72 sexually trafficked girls in Los Angeles County, 58% of them were foster youth
  • Out of 267 victims in Alameda County, 41% were foster youth

 

Keeping this information in mind and staying aware of your surroundings and reporting any suspicious activity are all good ways to prevent this issue from becoming worse in your community. Please look forward to my future blogs about this topic including what you can do to advocate for HR 4980, a bill that will prevent future foster youth from becoming victims of human trafficking and exploitation. More to come on a local resource for victims and families.

Keep checking back to Health Shack and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see what Health Shack is doing in your community.

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About the Author

Melanie Shafer

College student, blogger and youth ambassador for HealthShack



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