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Misconceptions Everyone Needs to Understand about Sex Trafficking

This blog was written by my good friend, Carol Wiley, who is the director of A Way Out Program that rescues women who are caught in the web of trafficking. She gives them a safe place to live for themselves and their children, counseling, a mentor, and an opportunity to live a free and normal life. Carol is an amazing woman. She shares information we all need to know, especially if you have children, teens, or daughters in their twenties.

1. Trafficking must involve the crossing of borders. Anti-trafficking laws don’t require that victims must have traveled from another country or across state lines. Pimps (Traffickers) often take their women from state to state, for example the Super Bowl is a big draw for their business. They take the girl’s ID’s, Birth certificates, Social Security Cards. They also work with women from their hometown and if they get arrested, they pay their bail and move on to another town and remind the women over and over that if they go home they will be arrested and have to serve time.

2. Human Trafficking Happens in Other Countries More than in the U.S.A. In 2913, TIP report found that human trafficking has been reported in all fifty states.
In 2006 the FBI estimated that the trafficking of humans generated approximately 9.5 billion annually for organized crime.

3. Victims know what they are getting into or have a chance to escape. The read fact is that among the 500 plus women we have helped in varying degrees through A Way Out Program , most all have been duped into it by slick traffickers posing as “boyfriends.” After a period of conditioning they put them put out to sell their bodies. Some victims have freedom of movement, but are coerced to return to the trafficker because they are afraid of being beaten themselves or believe he will make good on his threats to harm their families.

4. Prostitution is a victimless crime. One report from the FBI stated that in over 100 arrests, most of the women expressed that prostitution was not their career of choice. I (Carol) personally can tell you that in all women I have interviewed, not one said that as a little girl they dreamed of becoming a prostitute who sold her body and then turned her earnings over to a controlling abusive master.

Under federal law, an individual who uses physical or psychological violence to force or coerce someone into labor or services or into commercial sex acts is considered a human trafficker. Therefore while some victims experience beatings, rapes, or other forms of physical violence, many victims are controlled by traffickers through psychological means, such as threats or violence, manipulation, and lies. In many cases, traffickers use a combination of direct violence and mental abuse. (Polaris Project)

5. Pornography, stripping, and prostitution are unrelated to human trafficking In a study by Focus on the Family they reported that pornography serves as the market vehicle in commercial sex trafficking. Also, the study done by Shared Hope found that 1 out of every 3 pornography images is of a child and that 55% of child pornography comes from the U.S.A. and sale of the same has become more than $3 billion annual industry.

6. Females are the only victims of sex trafficking. The U.N. Office of Drug and Crimes estimates that as many as 20% of the sex trafficking
victims are males.

This is far from a comprehensive list of myths concerning the sex trafficking industry. The sobering truth is that even though large-scale slavery was abolished in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation, there are more slaves trapped in sexual slavery than at any time in history. There are over 30 million worldwide with approximately 80% of sex trafficking being women and children.

Please pay attention to this post. Someone you know might be trapped into this hell. Even if you never know a person who has had to deal with this nightmare, it’s clear someone wants out. If you can’t do anything else, please re-post this. Also please comment. This is an important subject we all should be concerned about. Thank you.

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How to Teach Preschoolers to Say “No” to Unsafe Touch

How do we teach preschool children the difference between good touch and unsafe or uncomfortable touch?

Little children trust easily, too easily. They learn to hug their grandparents when they leave and how to shake hands with their parents friends when they meet them. We try to teach children good manners at an early age. It’s part of parenting, but so is teaching them how to protect their bodies against unsafe touch, whether it be from a babysitter, a cousin, or a pedophile who lives down the street.

Teach them about their bodies.  

You can do this in the tub or when they see someone change a baby’s diaper.                        

“Let’s talk about how everyone’s body is different. God made Susan’s body different from your body or David’s body is not like your body. Each person’s body belongs to him or her and each person has the right to protect his or her body from unwanted touch. If you are a Christian,  you can add,  “God made each body a little bit different for a reason.”

This is a good time to teach modesty.

Draw a child in a swimsuit or put one on the child. “Do you see the parts of your body that are covered when you wear a swimsuit? When someone tries to touch you in the area of the swimsuit, they are not giving safe touch. The only time someone should need to touch your body in the area where a swimsuit touches is when a doctor or your parent needs to help you. I think you are old enough to know when someone needs to help you in that way.

Senses are the way we learn about the world around us.

“Do you know what the five senses are?  We call it the five senses that help us know about our world. Can you tell me what they are?”                        

1. Seeing – “Tell me something you like to see with your eyes.” Wait for answer.                  

2. Hearing  – “Tell me something you like to hear with your ears.” Wait for answer.            

3. Smelling – “Tell me something you like to smell with your nose.” Wait for answer.            

4. Tasting – “Tell me something you like to taste with your tongue.” Wait for answer.          

5. Touching – “Tell me something you like to touch with your skin.” Wait for answer.

Discuss as needed.

“I like hugs from people I love. Which sense do I use when I give a hug?  (Touch)                

Do you like hugs? Who do you like to hug?” Wait for answers.                                                  

A hug is a loving touch. A loving touch makes us feel warm and comfortable. Sometimes there are touches that don’t make us feel comfortable. They might make us feel scared or hurt or confused. If someone touches you in a way you don’t like, you can tell them to stop. If they don’t, tell an adult you trust.

“Who does your body belong to? (the child) Do you have to let anyone touch you if you don’t feel comfortable? (no)

“Are there times when a grown-up might need to touch you so they can help?” (yes)          

“Tell me some of those times.” (skinned knee, something in the eye)

“Are there times when an adult might need to touch your private parts?” (Yes, only when a parent or doctor needs to help you for a good reason.)

“If a person wants to touch your private parts without a good reason, do you have to let them?” (No) You are getting big now and you can think for yourself, can’t you?
If a person wants to touch your private parts or touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, what are some things you can do?”

1. Say “No”
2. Run away from them and scream if you need to.
3. Tell someone you trust. If they don’t believe you, tell someone else.
4. Remember, it is not your fault and you didn’t do anything wrong if that happens.

Children need to learn to think for themselves in an unsafe situation. Keep this conversational and let children answer.

“Do you remember yesterday I reminded you that you are getting big enough to think for yourself? I am going to ask you some questions that you will really have to think about.”

“We taught you to obey grown-ups, right?”

“What if your aunt told you to jump into the river, what would you do?”

“What would you do if your teacher told you to dive off the school building?”

“What if you are at the store and the store owner told you to steal a bag of potatoes? What would you do?”

“Most of the time when a grown-up tells you to do something, it is for your own good. But, you have to think. If it doesn’t seem right or makes you feel uncomfortable or scared, you don’t have to do it. It is your own body. If that happens, you go to a person you trust and ask them if you have to do it.

What kind of person might ask you to do something that is not for your own good? (Child describes what he or she thinks.)

Answer:                                                                                                                                                     1. They could look and act nice.
2. The may try to trick you into thinking you can trust them.
3. They may be young or old.
4. They can be someone you know and care about or they could be a stranger, someone you don’t know.
5. They could be someone in your family. It could be anyone. You can’t tell by looking, only by feeling.

“Remember, your body belongs to you and no one has the right to touch it without your permission, unless it is your parent or doctor trying to help you. If someone does, what do you do?” (Say “no” and tell someone.)

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Don’t Be a Shame Sponge

Don't let your self feel like this poor sponge.

Don’t let yourself feel like this poor sponge.

Did you experience physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse as a child? If so, you may feel a deep shame that makes it hard for you to believe you are as worthy as other people. It may even make it difficult for you to feel loved. Abuse is a direct attack on a person’s dignity. You had no way of knowing that, so you may have become a “shame sponge.” Did you soak up the dirt and shame that belongs to the abuser? If the person who hurt you was a family member, you may have added shame upon shame. After all, the family member who abused you may also be the one who took care of you. You needed the abuser in order to live. It created a confusing double bind. You couldn’t see the abuser as bad, so you saw yourself as bad. Even if the abuser was not a family member, the loss of dignity may have caused you to feel shame. Of course, there were other strong emotions, too. We will discuss those on another post.

The shameful feelings come from the lies planted in your mind and spirit, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by the abuser. Truthfully, no one is perfect, but you are not worse than others simply because of abuse. Even if you know that, you may not feel it. The perpetrator, however, should feel shame for hurting you, an innocent child. Changing the thought patterns and feelings developed in childhood requires some soul-searching work. If you haven’t received counseling, I recommend it. You can also help yourself by changing the messages you give yourself. Say, “Self, you are just as valuable and worthy as everyone else. The person who hurt you is the one who deserves the shame.” Telling yourself one time is not enough. You need to do it every time those old feelings stir your soul. It may feel like hard work, but it is worth it.

I am a Christian. I believe shame came into the world through Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God and hid in the garden to hide the shame they felt because they had no clothes. Fig leaves didn’t cover their shame. They needed more to cover their naked bodies. God confronted them and out of love covered them with animal skins. With the law of Moses, God began the practice of sacrificing lambs and other animals for the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed by blood, for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22 NIV) Finally, Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God came to earth as a baby. He showed people how to live, and He died for our sins. He took our shame. Anyone who accepts the gift of His sacrifice and follows Him will have eternal life in heaven. Even it you don’t believe in God, the shame you felt and may still feel doesn’t from the abuse belongs to the one who abused you, not you.