Predators put themselves in situations where they have access to children. The CDC reports that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experienced sexual abuse as children. Most will never tell their stories out of shame and fear. Some children do not live to tell their stories. Children with intact families are less likely to suffer abuse.
A predator can be a family member, school teacher, principal, police officer, firefighter, doctor, therapist, counselor, and even Sunday school teachers and preachers. Sometimes the predator is friends with the family or someone that the adults in the family think can be trusted, such as is the case often with teachers, preachers, and even sometimes other children.
Child sex abuse is most likely to happen when a child is between the ages of 6 to 11 years old. Predators prey on children from broken homes, group homes, foster care, and runaways. Live-in parents and stepparents are 20 times more likely to abuse a child than a biological parent. The U.S. Department of State reports that foster care is a consistent problem. Studies show that children in foster homes are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children that live with biological parents. Children that live in group homes are 28 times more likely to be abused. City reports show that between 60% to as many as 99% of the children rescued in sex trafficking stings were in foster care before they were trafficked. Often, when they are rescued, they are returned to state custody where they will likely run away again.
One solution that will reduce child sex trafficking is to localize foster care so that children never have to run from places that they are not familiar with. Many sex-trafficked children ran away from a group home or a foster home outside of the city that they know and oftentimes out of the state that placed them in foster care to begin with. The children get lost and land in the hands of sex traffickers. Another solution to reduce both child sex trafficking and the need for foster care is to shift the ASFA funding in a way that allows states to be paid when they place a child in need with a family member.
Over 140,000 young people are reported missing each year. There are many reasons why children run away. Words can hurt. Sometimes children run away because they are verbally abused. When children are unhappy at home they will seek to find happiness someplace else. Each child has their own story. Most of the time children run away because they are abused or misunderstood. Many youths run away because they are confused about their sexuality or because their parents do not accept their sexuality. Sometimes runaways have been physically and/or sexually abused at home. Sometimes children runaway from court-ordered placements to go back to the place that they call home.
Some runaways have good families that worry about them. Others may not. It is estimated that unaccompanied youth make up 50% of the homeless youth population and they are unsheltered. 66% of all homeless people live with no shelter at all and often in places that are not meant for human habitation. Poverty is the highest risk factor that leads to homelessness.
Victims of childhood sexual assault are most likely to be homeless children, children in the foster care system, refugees, and LGBTQ youth. It is estimated that 100,000 children are sexually exploited in the United States each year. Children run away from bad situations at home, foster homes, and adoptive placements. Predators and even recruiters for cults, and sex traffickers wait outside bus stations, parks, malls, and other areas where runaways are likely to be found.
Family and friends can prevent children from running away. Adults and children can build trust by communicating and engaging with each other daily. Parents and other caregivers should be aware of the online dangers facing today’s youth. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Gaming Apps can be dangerous. Pay attention to your child’s online presence and use parental controls to stop some websites from getting access to your home internet and your children’s cell phones.
If you or someone you know needs help contact:
National Youth Crisis Hotline 800-448-4663.
The Trevor Project: A leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. Need help? 1-866-488-7386 (24/7) https://www.thetrevorproject.org
Runaway Services: Runaway Hotline (All Calls are Confidential) 800-231-6946
Other resources that may be helpful can be found by clicking here.
Other related articles:
How Foster Care Youth Become Trafficking Victims,
Child Sex Trafficking and the Child Welfare System,
88% of children rescued in sex trafficking operations were trafficked from state custody!,
Pastor of Texas church and board member of a foster parent association, a father of adopted children himself, arrested for producing and transporting child pornography,
Maryland judge kills himself as feds arrive to arrest him for sexually exploiting children – including filming teenage boys at his hunting cabin,
Settlement in Abused Teenager’s Hush Money Lawsuit Days Before Trial Against Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert,
Delaware pastor convicted of child sex abuse. Alicia is awarded $1.5 million, but says it’s not about the money.,
“Their word was golden”. How did church leaders go unnoticed for so long?
Ted Cruz says Biden Administration secretly flies planes from the Texas Mexico border to Florida, Tennessee, and New York!,
Kentucky high school hosts drag pageant featuring male teens in lingerie giving lap dances to staff,
Brett Blomme, Milwaukee’s juvenile judge pleads guilty to child porn charges,
Municipal employees, a firefighter, a teacher, a professor, a pilot, and a city councilman are included in the list of arrestees. 161 Suspects Arrested in Human Trafficking Operation: Only 10 Missing Children Rescued,
Laurent Martinez on sex abuse inside the church,
Judge sentences man 15 to 40 for sexually assaulting foster children.,
Speaking of the foster care to prison pipeline….PBS interviewed Ken Mascara, the sheriff of St. Lucie County in Florida.,
Church leaders protected the church for decades, not the children. Nebraska AG now releasing a report.,
Sexual predators abound in prominent offices from Louisiana to West Virginia. Sheriff Jack Strain, sexual predator guilty on ALL counts. DA Walter Reed was allowed to serve his short sentence at home.,
Family separations are cutting at the very core of our society. Human rights violations contribute to conflict.,
Florida Department of Corrections Officer Sentenced for Civil Rights Conspiracy to Assault Youthful Offenders,
17 Tips for Professionals Addressing Abuse
#EndASFA #StopTitleIV #Stophumantrafficking #stopchildtrafficking
Minding Hearts is building advocacy and peer support groups in each state. The groups are created to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for those that might not otherwise be heard. We are here for encouragement, education, and support. We are here to support families and develop resources that maintain family integrity. We look forward to your support. If you would rather become active by donating, then visit the donation page.