Stop Child Trafficking

While you might think human trafficking only happens in other countries, it is actually the second largest illicit industry in U.S., second only to the drug trade (UNICEF). Every year, thousands of children in our country are victimized. As many as 80% of victims rescued from sex trafficking have been in the foster care system, and approximately 44% of runaways from foster care become victims of sex trafficking (FosterVA.org).

Child Trafficking in the U.S.

Children that lack love, affection, and protection are the most vulnerable to child traffickers. Young people who come from backgrounds of neglect or abuse are especially vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking and, more specifically, victims of sex trafficking.

Child traffickers strategically target children within the foster system; they know that these children are more likely to have suffered domestic abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect. Traffickers prey on these children by offering attention, gifts, and a promise of love or affection.

Fight Back by Fostering

Children in the foster care system need the support of strong, stable foster families, where they can experience support and unconditional love. The best way to fight back against those who would target these children is to give children in the foster system a place where they truly belong and feel loved.

Even if you don’t feel called to foster, you can support foster families in your community or find a way to mentor at-risk youth, particularly those who have aged out of foster care. To find what you can do, check out our list of 7 Ways You Can Help Stop Child Trafficking.

Stop Child Trafficking - Fight Back by Fostering

On July 30th each year, the UN recognizes World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

The blue heart is used as a symbol of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. It represents both the sadness of trafficking victims, and the cold-heartedness of their traffickers.

Image from National Catholic Register article, August 2023

Featured Commentary: Fight Child Trafficking by Fostering

Dr. Kimberly Henkel discusses her reaction to the film, The Sound of Freedom: “Like many others, I looked forward to watching The Sound of Freedom to learn about the true story of children rescued from sex trafficking. Fifteen minutes into the film, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.” Read the article published in the National Catholic Register, August 2023.

Read Now

Former government agent Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel) embarks on a mission to rescue children from sex traffickers in Colombia.

7 ways You Can Help Stop Child Trafficking

1. Know the signs. What makes a child vulnerable to trafficking? An unstable living situation, struggles with poverty, or a background in the child welfare system are just some of the indicators.

2. Report a tip. If you are in the U.S. and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888

3. Spread the word! Raise awareness about child trafficking and connect people to resources in your community. Share info through social media, discussions within community groups, or conversation with friends.

4. Register for training. SOAR Online and OnWatch™ both offer free, 1-hour training modules online on how to recognize and help combat trafficking in America.

5. Raise your voice. Contact your local and state representatives to let them know you care about combating human trafficking and ask what they are doing to address it.

6. Mentor. Become a mentor to a young person who has aged out of foster care. Traffickers often target people who lack strong support systems. As a mentor, you can be involved in new and positive experiences in that person’s life during a formative time.

7. Foster. Become a foster parent, or support foster families in your community. Children moved through unstable households are extremely at-risk for trafficking. Parents and foster parents should learn how human traffickers often target and recruit youth and who to turn to for help in potentially dangerous situations.