How do you PREVENT the Sexual Exploitation of Children?

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Last May, the state of Washington passed into law, a directive to all teachers and social service workers to collaborate and provide awareness and training materials for local school divisions on human trafficking, including strategies to prevent child trafficking.

That can sound scary. It sounds like the teachers would have to teach children – even elementary school children – seedy details about pimps and prostitution. But, nothing could be farther from the truth. While the teachers themselves will become educated on the tactics used by these predators, and how they target children, the programs that will be offered to the children will be positive and uplifting.

An article in the Washington Times Communities, details some of the programs and goals which have already been implemented in some of the schools:

Educating Children About Media and Advertising so that the consumerism and fame that are promoted in the media do not become their only values.

Exposing Children to Different Positive Role Models in order to develop their sense of morality and to help them find their own positive voice.

Discussing Personal Health and Etiquette Issues,  like Personal Hygiene and Social Manners, because children who lack this type of guidance at home are often bullied at school.

Teaching Programs that Teach about Bullying, Coping Skills, and Self-Defense. Children who are socially isolated are targeted by the pimps and pedophiles, who start out by giving them love and approval in order to gain control over them. Children need to know what to do, if they find themselves in this position.

Providing Nutrition Education because a healthy body is a requirement for the children to have good mental health

Exploring Different Cultures to educate and engage the children and to make them feel less awkward in the middle school years.

Encouraging Membership in Child-Oriented Volunteer Organizations, like scouting and extra-curricular activities, in order to keep them involved in positive activities.

Connecting Troubled Children with School Counselors. It takes more than a few sessions with a stranger to help  troubled children who are being targeted by seemingly loving predators. It is necessary for them to form long-lasting friendships with guidance counselors. Since the pimps are now targeting children as young as 13, it is imperative to identify and refer the at-risk children to school guidance and mentoring as early as possible, even in Elementary School.

These programs will not only help the at-risk children, but will help every child in their class. We applaud the state of Washington for taking the bold move to require these sorts of safeguards for their children, and we encourage other states to do the same thing.

To read the full article in the Washington Times Communities, please click on the picture associated with this blog entry.

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