What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a form of slavery. Human trafficking is wrongly using other people, sometimes for sexual exploitation and sometimes for labor. Often vulnerable young people are exploited through human trafficking and it happens to youth with disabilities too. Many times, youth who are being trafficked don’t know that they are being trafficked or that they are victims.
Why should foster parents know about human trafficking?
Children in foster care are more likely to be trafficked because of their background of abuse and neglect. There are many known risk factors that place youth at higher risk of being trafficked. The strongest risk factors are previous physical and sexual abuse, running away, and sexual identity issues.
Signs of Human Trafficking
- A person who appears to be disconnected from their family, friends or community
- A child who has stopped attending school
- A child with dramatic changes in behavior or seeming confused or disoriented, timid or fearful
- A child engaged in sex acts
- A child who seems to be with another person who they treat as their “boss” or someone who seems to be in control of where they go or who they talk to.
- A person who does to have their own possessions or seems not to have a stable living situation or does not have freedom to go where they want or live where they want.
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families launched a campaign to address the child sex trafficking in the state by increasing public awareness of the signs, risk factors, and reporting mechanisms. Go to WisconsinTalks.org to learn more about youth sex trafficking and what you can do to prevent it.
What should I do if I suspect a child is being trafficked?
If you think someone you know is being trafficked, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report it to Child Protective Services.
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