#teensexting | #sexting | Speaker addresses child sex trafficking across United States during stop at AHS

Nov. 22—Child sex trafficking has become a growing issue in the United States.

But what exactly is sex trafficking? According to www.stoptraffickingus.org, sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, and coercion. The most common way sex trafficking is happening is through contact on social media. Predators have a similar pattern that they use to lure young men and women into illegal sex work and convince them to have sex with one another.

How do parents combat this? How can they keep their kids safe from predators online? There was a meeting at Abilene High School with Russ Tuttle, founder of the Stop Trafficking Project. In the meeting, Tuttle went over how we can help prevent more sexual abuse of children.

“It’s all about having that big-window perspective,” Tuttle said. “Instead of viewing your kid like you’re looking through a peephole through their door, it’s time to take a look at our kids and find out what they have going on. You don’t know what you don’t know, we all have somewhat of a limited perspective about this issue.”

Tuttle explained how the technology we use every day can also be used to target minors in a sexual field.

“I just recently got a text from a school we did a presentation at, and they told me that after I visited with them, they had uncovered a large sexting ring amongst its students. Students were sending naked pictures and candid photos to one another,” he said.

Cellphones also open up an avenue to the world of pornography.

Anybody with access to a phone or similar device and a stable WiFi connection can access porn sites all over the web.

“I was recently at a school where a sixth grade girl came up to me and showed me the choke marks around her neck where her eighth-grade boyfriend had choked her out while having sex with her. The eighth grader had learned this behavior through his porn addiction he had accidentally stumbled onto when he was in second grade,” said Tuttle.

This isn’t necessarily an isolated incident. It happens around all around the nation.

“This amazing device that has enough technology to launch a rocket ship to the moon and bring it back can be used for so many great things — or such depravity,” Tuttle said.

The sexual act itself isn’t what makes this case a sex trafficking case. It was everyone who was involved and why they were involved that makes the difference.

“As if it wasn’t bad enough, the eighth-grade boy recorded himself choking out his sixth-grade girlfriend and then having sex with her. Less than 24 hours after that, there were three dozen adult males trying to figure out how to pay an eighth-grade boy to sexually assault his girlfriend who was two years younger than him. That is what sex trafficking looks like in America today,” Tuttle said.

He said child-on-child sex crimes are skyrocketing, child sexual abuse material online is skyrocketing and domestic minor sex trafficking is skyrocketing as well.

Tuttle said a big reason why these traffickers succeed is because of the “exploitation of vulnerability” skill they possess in their tool bags. Essentially, children these days are pretty technologically savvy and they have heard of stranger danger, but they may not put two and two together to protect themselves from pedophiles despite all the attempts to prepare them for the reality of predatory adults online. Adults may not always be able to protect the children in their lives from the dangers of online creeps, either.

But there are things people can do and raising awareness as Tuttle did last week is one of them.

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