At any given moment, there are nearly 21 million victims of human trafficking around the world, and at least 26 percent of those are children, according to the 2015 survey by the Polaris Project. The growing prominence of social media has provided new avenues for criminals to abduct children, often for sex trafficking.
Awareness Is The Best Weapon Against Human Trafficking
For parents, this can make the thought of their children spending time online frightening, especially in today’s world, where more children have access to technology and daily tasks like homework often need to be done on a computer.
On- and off-line safety is the role of law enforcement agencies. Due to the increasingly sophisticated nature of crimes, it is critical for current and aspiring criminal justice and security professionals to obtain education and training that prepare them to support an ever-changing workforce, especially for those working to stop human trafficking. Law enforcement officials must have the skills necessary to navigate and collaborate across local, federal and international jurisdictions.
“Public safety agencies around the world combat human trafficking while higher education institutes, like University of Phoenix, provide the skills and training necessary to help identify and capture these criminals,” said Dan Barry, campus chair, College of Security and Criminal Justice, University of Phoenix. “The best way for parents to help is by educating their children to be aware, giving criminals less access to potential victims.”
Barry offers five tips to protect your family online.
- Set boundaries. This can include limiting the amount of time spent online and on the computer or other electronic devices, while always supervising younger children.
- Communicate the dangers. Have a conversation with children about the dangers of social media, including how to use privacy settings to block sensitive information and reporting tools to report abusive content. Emphasize that it is never okay to exchange personal information with strangers and that once something is posted, it can never be taken back, even if it’s deleted.
- Spend time with your children online. A good way for you to know how your children are using social media is to sit with them and have them show how they have set up their profile. It also provides a good opportunity to show examples of some of the things your children should be looking out for when it comes to potential dangers.
- Use parental controls. Most operating systems come with settings to prevent children from exploring inappropriate content. These don’t completely protect children, but can help set boundaries on the type of content they can view and who they may come into contact with online.
- Friend a trusted adult. Most children may limit what their parents can see online. But there is often at least one adult a child thinks is “cool” enough to friend on social media. It can be a good way to monitor a child’s social media behavior. That adult can also help demonstrate what is and is not appropriate to share online.
Human trafficking victims span all ages, races, nationalities and genders. Help protect your children by communicating the dangers and be aware of their online behavior. For more information on human trafficking, visit http://traffickingresourcecen ter.org.
For more information about University of Phoenix College of Security and Criminal Justice, visit www.phoenix.edu/colleges_divisions/criminal-justice.html.
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Article compliments of NAPSnet.