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Selling sex in the social network: How to protect your child

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In a recent CNN report, a school principal in Georgia was among 14 people arrested for traveling to have sex with minors they met on line, which for Jenny Williamson would not be a surprise. She is the founder of Courage Worldwide, a Sacramento area non-profit dedicated to the prevention of child sex trafficking and helps girls rescued from sex trafficking to recover and rebuild their lives.

She will tell you that this Georgia man is the profile of the typical client for child sex traffickers.

“From a public perception standpoint, people need to understand that the demographic creating demand for sex with young girls is typically white, middle aged men who attend church,” she said. “These are individuals we consider to be good citizens who believe that they are helping these girls who have chosen this life in order to earn money.”

According to Williamson the girls are recruited and trained at very young ages. In a recent OnLineAmerica report, the average age of children entering into the sex industry is 12 to 14 years old. “These kids are ‘cultivated’ to ‘like it’, but it is simply dehumanizing a person,” Williamson said.

This is what happens when people agree with lies.

It is the perfect storm.

The girls are told that this is what it means to be empowered, and the clients believe that it is okay because the children seem so willing. And compounding these circumstances ripe for evil to flourish is the on line technology used to exploit victims.

The OnLineAmerica report, named a website called, BackPage.com as a prime example, along with social media apps used to market sex with kids and engage clients. In this report, child sex trafficking is featured as an industry with low risk and high reward, largely because the internet makes it easy to exploit children. One expert explained that a modern pimp can earn roughly a half a million dollars a year with three to four girls. And it is easy to keep it hidden.

The idea of prostitutes walking the streets is arcane in the cyber-powered world.

Williamson’s tips for protecting your child

Be clear about how your values serve you. Respect, for example, is something that comes from within and is expressed by how you treat others. Our children need to know that they are worthy of being loved and appreciated, and to listen to that little voice that expresses discomfort with a person or a situation.

Help kids with thought leadership; it is their internal guidance system that enables them to take control over their emotions. Help your children understand that happy people can become successful, but successful people are not necessarily happy. This kind of thinking can help children evaluate more clearly the things they are being told about love and affection, as well as money and a lifestyle that screams material success.

Finally, empower kids to police themselves based upon your family values. Talk about your values as a practical matter – as a life skill.

For more about family culture rooted in good faith, see: Fresh Start.

Parent Resources

(940e)

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