In Abuse

Helping Missing and Exploited Children

Missing and Exploited Children

Missing and Exploited Children
There was a time when, as children, we could run and play with the next door neighbor (as long as we were home by dark, as if only bad things happen after dark). We could walk to school without fear of something happening to us or one of us being snatched up, kidnapped and exploited. Not once do I recall a child missing, unless of course, they ran away from home and within a few days, they were back at school.

Today, each evening when we watch the news or log online there are stories or a story of a missing or abducted child. With our own children and grandchildren, we are almost afraid or refuse to let them out of our sight.

The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicate that “a child goes missing every 40 seconds in America. That comes to 750,000 children a year” (Halpern, 2011). Every 40 seconds! How is this possible?

There are several reasons children become among the “missing and exploited”. Some children are abducted while playing in their front yards, or walking from a friend’s home. The abduction may occur only moments from their own home. Where are they going? What is happening to our children?

“One in seven endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2013 were likely sex trafficking victims” (Child Sex Trafficking, n.d.).

“Commercial sexual exploitation of children occurs when individuals buy, trade, or sell sexual acts with a child. Sex trafficking is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act” (Group, 2010).

Children vulnerable to sex trafficking or exploitation are the young and helpless, children who are having difficulties at home or runaways. These children are lured into sex trafficking with promises they will always have someone who cares, someone to protect them, someone to love them. These “protectors” may earn hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per child or person.

“One study estimates 30% of shelter youth and 70% of street youth are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. They may engage or be coerced into prostitution for “survival sex” to meet daily needs for food, shelter, or drugs” (Fact Sheet: Distinctions Between Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking., 2005).

However, often children are abducted or go missing because of child molesters, or pedophiles. Child molesters will abduct a child of any age, as long as they are helpless, young and vulnerable. These people prey on our young and have no regard for the pain and suffering they inflict upon a person.

“Child molesters tend to rationalize their sexual interests and validate their behavior. They tend to show an excessive interest in children and often seduce children with attention, affection and gifts. They lie and manipulate, typically very skillfully” (Goetz, n.d.).

Child molesters can be the next door neighbor, church members, they could be the person you share car-pooling with, or they can be your favorite grocery store clerk. Someone is watching our children at all times. They are not watching to protect these children, they are watching, waiting for the most opportune time to snatch our children. They do not look like monsters, they do not appear only “after dark”.

Many child abductions occur in broad daylight or busy neighborhoods. In parking lots, stores, the mall, parks, playgrounds, anywhere there are children. They are kind, charming and show genuine (however fake) concern for children. Many children are kidnapped by people who can’t have children or to “illegal brokers” who find children for the childless couples for a price. There is always a market for children when and where adoption fails. Some slime ball out there is always ready, willing and able to take your child and sell them to someone else.

There are also reports of people stilling children for body parts (International, n.d.). How horrible is this? The internet, once again, has opened the door and given opportunities for human beings to kidnap, murder and sell off the body parts of our children. This is frightening to think about, yet, this is reality.

However, not all missing or exploited children are abducted by strangers. Thousands of children are abducted yearly, by a family member. In several cases, abduction by family members occur due to custodial rights of the child or children. The child will be told the other parent is dead, or doesn’t want them or doesn’t love them. These children are among the missing whom are deprived of the affection and love of the absent parent. Often these children are neglected and/or abused due to the secrecy of the situation or the overwhelming sense of responsibility to the parent who has abducted the child.

How to Keep Your Child Safe:

Communication: Create an environment which allows a child to feel safe and comfortable speaking with their parents or adults about someone who has approached them or made them feel uncomfortable.

Monitor online activities: The internet and online resources have allowed perpetrators even greater access to our children. In some cases the child may be chatting with a pedophile. Simple descriptions of what grade they are in, what the name of their school is, their school colors or mascot, or an innocent sharing of a picture of the child and friends may have the location of the school in the background. Teach your children that “no” personal information is to be shared online, ever.

Know their friends: Gang members and other perpetrators target children who may have been sexually abused in the past, statistics show these children or at an even greater risk of exploitation. Foster children are another group they will target. Who are they hanging out with? Who are their friends? Who are their parents? Where do they live?

Teach your children about “Stranger Danger”: There are several ebooks and books you can purchase or checkout at the library to help in describing stranger danger.

Do not allow children to be alone or walk home alone: Isolated children or children walking alone are extremely vulnerable. Although most children know not to talk to strangers or to run if a stranger approaches them, these perpetrators are prepared for this. They may block the child’s access to pass, or simply snatch them up quickly. A child does not have the knowledge or skills, nor the physical ability, to actively escape certain situations.

Teach your children about the dangers of child molesters and predators. The more knowledge they have, the better they will be able to protect themselves.

Insure your child knows his/her phone number, address and how to dial 911.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited children provide guides and invaluable information which may be obtained by going to www.missingkids.com/missingchild. There is a detailed quick-reference guide to assist should your child go missing. “Contact law enforcement immediately. After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)” (If Your Child is Missing, n.d.).

Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that “More than 99 percent of children reported missing in America in recent years have come home alive.” Allen contributes these high statistics to technology and the awareness of the “Amber Alert” and other organizations assisting in the recovery of these children, as well as “fast action”.

*Note: Missing and exploited children should receive counseling and or guidance from a professional after returning home. There could be PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), emotional disorders, night terrors, depression, fear of the kidnapping re-occurring, and a sense of loss of security. They may no longer feel safe.

If you suspect a child is being abducted or has been abducted, contact law enforcement immediately!

References

Child Sex Trafficking. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2014, from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

(2005). Fact Sheet: Distinctions Between Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking. U.S. Department of State. Washington D.C.: Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/CCSE_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Goetz, B. (n.d.). Things You Need to Know about Child Molesters. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from Chabad.Org: www.chabad.org

Group, I. L. (2010). Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Fact Sheet. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/CCSE_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Halpern, M. (2011, July 12). FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from http://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/inside/inside_071211.mp3/view

If Your Child is Missing. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2014, from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC198.pdf

International, M. C. (n.d.). The Ten Reasons Children Disappear. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from Missing Children International: http://missingchildreninternational.org/articles/ten_reasons_why_children_disappear.html

Sources: References Child Sex Trafficking. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2014, from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. (2005). Fact Sheet: Distinctions Between Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking. U.S. Department of State. Washington D.C.: Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/CCSE_Fact_Sheet.pdf Goetz, B. (n.d.). Things You Need to Know about Child Molesters. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from Chabad.Org: www.chabad.org Group, I. L. (2010). Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Fact Sheet. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/CCSE_Fact_Sheet.pdf Halpern, M. (2011, July 12). FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from http://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/inside/inside_071211.mp3/view If Your Child is Missing. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2014, from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC198.pdf International, M. C. (n.d.). The Ten Reasons Children Disappear. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from Missing Children International: http://missingchildreninternational.org/articles/ten_reasons_why_children_disappear.html

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