All parents should watch the below 7-minute video to see not so much how bad girls get trafficked but rather how good girls get trafficked. It is called The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Experiment) and it has over 61M views. This channel belongs to Coby Persin who is not a trafficker himself, but is fronting as a trafficker fronting as good teen-boy to meet a good teen girl:
However, unlike the above video, the person on the other end of your kid’s FB app is usually not a good-man fronting as a trafficker. Rather, he is a real trafficker. It was brought to my attention twice this past week that Catholic families I know in real life had their teens groomed by online predators. The FBI caught one of the predators in an investigation, and the second situation will hopefully include an investigation soon.
Here’s some things that even conservative Christian parents do not realize:
1. Traffickers and abusers reach out to teens online using more than text messages or common social-media apps. Any app (including video games) may be a portal to your teen.
2. Traffickers and abusers often reach out with no sexual innuendo in their online interactions with your teen. This means the trafficker will often work behind the profile of a fake teen-boy to ask your teen girl if she can “just be a friend in a lonely time.” Notice that even a good and pure teen girl might say yes to this. So it’s not enough to say “My daughter would never meet a stranger online in real life.”
3. Do not think that just because your daughter is objectively smart, pure and pious that she will not engage another “teen” who claims he just “wants a friend.” Frequently, no “sexts” are involved. Many Catholic girls might very well meet another “teen” who just claimed in an online chat, for example: “My Mom just died and you’re the only one who can help me now since I have no friends and I’m so lonely.” Of course, even a good girl has no idea the guy behind the teen profile is actually a 45 year old trafficker waiting to kidnap her as soon as she meets in real life. And he has all the time in the world to gain her trust.
4. Boys are also targets. It was recently brought to my attention that a Catholic father found out his son was being groomed online by a perverted old man who claimed to be a teen girl.
1. Don’t let your teen keep a smart phone.
2. Even if they refrain from keeping a smart phone, know that predators can still find your teen in other ways so as to groom them online or in real life.
3. Have teens watch the above video.
4. Tell teens to have no relationships with anyone online (and to trust you in regards to online relationships.)
5. Even if your teen doesn’t trust you anymore for reasons beyond your control, beg them to understand that advanced traffickers often use innocent vocabulary and non-sexual messaging to begin an online relationship. This is all in order to meet a teen in real life to abuse her or fully traffic her into sex-slavery.
6. If you find your child was groomed, don’t be mad at your child. Your child was the victim, not the perpetrator.
7. If you find your child was groomed, call the FBI and/or the police ASAP. Save all evidence in screenshots, time, date and any other information that can be passed on to the FBI.
If your daughter meets that guy fronting as a “cute but lonely boy” in real life…you will probably never see your teen again. I’m not exaggerating in this, for a family I know had a close call on this that was completely diverted by the grace of God very recently.
But as I have been telling everyone in my blogs and podcasts for five years: Trafficking in America usually doesn’t happen via the big black van that pulls up and quickly kidnaps your children. Rather, a teen who is kidnapped into trafficking in the USA is almost always lured in by non-violent means, namely some combination of: 1) the loverboy syndrome of feeling exclusive or 2) winning her trust online or 3) winning her trust if she is a runway.
But statistically, a girl with a good dad will almost never run away. Thus, in targeting a girl with a strong family, a trafficker will often lure her in via her love of family and friends. Remember: Teen girls frequently want to help others, be-desired, be “in an adventure” and/or have special friends that make them feel “exclusive.” I mean all of this in non-sexual ways. Well, traffickers and abusers know this too.
The 8th of February is the feast day of St. John of Matha, the founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the redemption of Christian captives. In Protestant circles, the 8th of February is coincidentally the International Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking. Let’s get this message out before then to as many Christian families as possible what they need to look out for.