An exploiter's main purpose is to exploit children for financial gain. There are two different types of sexual exploitation: the first is commercial sexual exploitation and second is called domestic minor sex trafficking. Commercial sexual exploitation of children happens when an individual buys, sells, or trades sexual acts with a child. Domestic minor sex trafficking happens, according to the world-wide anti-sex trafficking organization Shared Hope, when children can be "exploited through pornography, prostitution, and /or erotic entertainment." For more information, please visit the Shared Hope website at www.sharedhope.org.
What Causes A Child To Become A Victim
Which children are vulnerable and targeted?
- A child who doesn't receive love and attention from his/her parents
- A child who experiences trouble at home
- A child who is usually lonely
- A child who is a runaway and doesn't have a safe place to stay
- A child who doesn't have much or a child who likes expensive items but can't afford to buy them
- A child who may meet an exploiter online before a real-life encounter
Potential Signs/Indications of Sexual Exploitation
- History of running away or current status as a runaway
- Presence of an older boy/girlfriend
- Sudden appearance of expensive/costly items
- Onset of alcohol and/or drug addiction
- Behavior problems at home or school
- Behavioral changes such as excessive crying, mood swings, fearfulness
- Fear of certain people, places, or activities
- Showing an unusual interest in sexual matters
- Acting out inappropriate sexual activity
- A sudden acting out of feelings or aggressive behavior
- Withdrawal or lack of interest in daily or previous activities
- Sudden involvement with suspicious or unknown people
- Nightmares or fear of going to bed
- Bed wetting or other sleep disturbances
- Poorly explained/unexplained injuries such as limps, cuts, bruises, rashes, etc.
What Happens To A Victim?
- A victim views the exploiter as a caretaker or boyfriend
- Victimized child may remain loyal even as exploitation and manipulation deepens/grows
- Victim may be made to feel trapped/powerless by physical and psychological threats
- Victim may be forced into drug addiction
- Exploiters use victims as slaves to quickly make money
- Victims may be gang-raped to desensitize them to sexual activity prior to forcibly entering into prostitution, pornography, etc.
- Victims may suffer from anxiety, depression, hyper-alertness, insomnia, and other ailments as result of their exploitation
To Prevent Child Victimization...
- Show your child care and love
- Talk to your child about sexual abuse
- Listen and pay attention to your child
- Pay attention to changes in your child's behavior
- Pay attention to your child's fears
- Know where your child is at all times and where to look for her/him
- Teach your child which body parts are private and only for your child to touch
- Teach children that no one should approach them or touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable
- Be involved in your child's activities
- Discuss and practice basic safety and self-defense skills
- Be cautious of sitters and others who care for your child--including relatives
- Be cautious of a teenager or adult who pays unusual attention to your child
- Be extra cautious when someone gives expensive or inappropriate gifts to your child
- Pay attention when your child expresses anxiety or shyness about a certain person or place
- Check suspicious people out on sex offender websites