Title

A Teen and Her Mom Speak Out: Sex-Trafficking and Dangers of Social Media

First Presenter's Institution

Augusta University

Second Presenter's Institution

Augusta University

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Verelst

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

Sex trafficking is a serious problem threatening the safety of boys and girls right here in the U.S. The average age of first-time trafficking victims is 12 to 14 years old. Predators use social media to lure and trap young people. We will talk about social media forums unknown to most adults and how parents and teachers can help protect our young people from trafficking by increasing awareness of typical victim and predator profiles and of the clandestine aspects of emerging social media

Brief Program Description

Aimed at adults parenting and teaching teenagers, this presentation seeks to increase awareness about the reality of sex trafficking happening in our neighborhoods and schools, and the trafficking dangers children are exposed to through the smartphones and laptops we place in their hands.

Summary

This presentation will highlight the growing problem of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). A review of the current research and data regarding CSEC in Georgia and nationally will be conducted. Furthermore, the urgency of preventing CSEC will be presented from the perspectives of a 16-year-old student and a parent. The presenters will share their unique viewpoints of how K-12 stakeholders can and should be collaborative allies in the fight against CSEC. Lastly, presenters will engage participants in examining the role K-12 stakeholders have in addressing the increase of CSEC.

Evidence

The Internet plays a significant role in both the recruitment of victims and the facilitation of sex trafficking. Traffickers use social media and websites to contact potential victims. Of youth in America, 77 percent have smartphones, and more than 70 percent of children have their images on social media 1,000 times by kindergarten ("American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers" by Nancy Jo Sales, 2017). 8% of the 292 survivors whose accounts were analyzed in one study by the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTRC) said they first met their controller online.

Traffickers may also use the social media posts of victims to monitor their activities or track their location. However, survivors have also successfully used social media sites to reach out for help (Polaris Project, 2017).

While the precise prevalence of sex trafficking in the United States is unknown, the NHTRC (2017) verifies that women, children, and men are being sold for sex against their will in cities and towns in all 50 states.

In 2014, the Urban Institute studied the underground commercial sex economy in eight U.S. cities and estimated it generates between $39.9 million and $290 million in revenue depending on the city. The NHTRC surveyed sex trafficking victims and 44 percent reported their first involvement with trafficking happened before they were 17 years old.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Isabelle Schwartz, 16, is a 10th-grader at a public magnet high school in Georgia. She became concerned about sex trafficking at age 12 when she read a true-story account of a victim. She did not understand why sex trafficking was never discussed in schools, though programs are presented about other issues such as drug use and bullying. Isabelle decided to do what she can to help increase awareness and protect other teens from falling victim. Isabelle has a heart for activism, loves to sing, studies acting, and adores animals. She has previously presented on sex trafficking at regional educational conferences.

Martha Anne Tudor is an award-winning journalist who covered medical and investigative stories for a major U.S. newspaper before entering graduate school sull time in clinical and mental health counseling. She is an M.ED. candidate at Augusta University. She was a single mom for 10 years and readily relates to the challenges of parenting in today's world. Martha Anne has previously presented on the topic of sex trafficking at regional educational conferences.

Keyword Descriptors

sex-trafficking, social media, parent involvement, peer mediation, teen advocate, safe space, school involvement, human trafficking

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-5-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2018 4:15 PM

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Mar 5th, 3:00 PM Mar 5th, 4:15 PM

A Teen and Her Mom Speak Out: Sex-Trafficking and Dangers of Social Media

Verelst

Aimed at adults parenting and teaching teenagers, this presentation seeks to increase awareness about the reality of sex trafficking happening in our neighborhoods and schools, and the trafficking dangers children are exposed to through the smartphones and laptops we place in their hands.