What is human trafficking and how can you stay safe?

Human trafficking means selling and buying other human beings. A ‘trafficker’ is a dangerous criminal who might pretend to be nice but then take you away from your family. When someone gets taken by a trafficker, they have their freedom taken away and are forced to live and/or work in a dangerous place, sometimes far away from their families.

Selling other people is a crime in many countries. You might also hear people call this ‘modern day slavery’.

Keep reading to learn about the risks to children like you and how to protect yourself.

WHAT RISKS ARE THERE?

There are three main types of human trafficking that target children:

  • Forced Work – This is when children are taken away from home and forced to work very hard, for example on a farm or as a servant in someone’s house. These children will usually be forced to live where they work and will not be paid.
  • Forced Marriage – This is when a child is taken away from home to marry an adult. This often happens to young girls, who are forced to marry adult men. She will have to marry him even if she doesn’t know him or doesn’t want to be with him.
  • Child Soldiers – This is when children are taken away and forced to join the army, fighting in dangerous conflicts in their home country or in a different place.

LUCKILY, THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE:

  • Don’t share too much – Your personal information is private and belongs to you. Nobody else (except your parent or guardian) has the right to know this information, especially not a stranger.
  • If someone starts asking questions about personal details about your family, your address or the name of your school, don’t tell them. If you use social media, don’t put this information online either.
  • Think things through – If a stranger approaches you in person or online and offers you a job or to take you out of the country, remember that sadly, not everyone you meet can be trusted. If this happens online, you can block the stranger without messaging back. If this happens in person, you should not agree to go anywhere with them and should ask for help from a trusted adult straight away.
  • If you’re worried, tell someone – If you are unsure if you can trust someone or not, or if a situation seems wrong, tell someone you know is safe, such as a parent or teacher that you trust.
  • If someone asks you to keep your meeting or your online contact with them secret from your parents, this is a sign that they might be doing something wrong. If you suspect that is the case, you should tell someone.

Human trafficking is scary and sad to imagine, but knowing how to stay safe will help you to carry on living a free and happy life, in your home, and with the people that love and care for you.

REBECCA OGDEN

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