Child trafficking occurs all over the world and it affects thousands, if not millions of families. It impacts not only the children who have been entered into a trafficking ring but also their parents, siblings, and friends. Children and young teenagers of all ages are vulnerable to being trafficked. However, there are certain situations that make children more likely to be taken by a trafficker.
Young individuals who have very little support from their families and are left to roam the streets alone are at an increased risk of being targeted by child traffickers. Dangerous people drive around the streets in search of vulnerable youngsters that they can exploit.
Even if a child is set free after being trafficked for a period of time, they may be left with the emotional trauma that remains with them for the rest of their lives. If they are trafficked at a young age, it can affect their long-term health and development.
Parents and siblings are also left with emotional scars that never heal because they were left without their loved ones for so long.
Traffickers Steal Children for a Number of Reasons. The Most Common Trafficking Rings Revolve Around:
- Sexual abuse
- Drugs smuggling
- Petty crimes
- Arranged or forced marriages
Traffickers may groom a child for a while before coercing them into a van, after which they can take the child to a different location in the same country or a completely different country. Children may then be left to live in unhygienic conditions where their basic needs aren’t met.
What Are the Signs of Child Trafficking?
Stopping human and child trafficking altogether is very difficult. There are millions of trafficking rings, all of which operate undercover, making them almost impossible to detect. However, there are some tell-tale signs which can indicate that a child is being trafficked.
Here are some key signs to look out for if you suspect that a child is being manipulated and abused by a trafficker.
- Spotting the human trafficking symbol
- Seeing a child doing laborious jobs outside every day or working long hours in a factory or brothel
- Noticing that a child lives in very poor, unhygienic conditions
- Spotting a child that appears to be neglected and has no parents or guardians
- Noticing that a child is not registered at school or any healthcare practices
- Spotting the signs of physical abuse on a child, such as having bruises on their legs or scratches on their arms
- Asking a child where their parents are or what they are doing and being told a fake story by the child
Identifying the signs of child trafficking isn’t always easy, especially when you aren’t consciously looking out for them. Being aware of the high incidence of child trafficking and learning about the key signs and symbols will make it easier for you to spot a child who is being abused.
If you suspect that a child trafficking ring is operating in your area, you must contact the local child protection authorities.