Rebecca Bender on How to Talk to Your Kids About Human Trafficking

The reality of human trafficking in communities all around the World, communities just like yours and mine is shocking. It’s maddening. It’s overwhelming.

For us at Starfish Project, it’s a reality we are faced with daily. Survivors of trafficking are our teammates, they’re aunties to our children, they are us. Yet we still struggle to find the words to talk with our children about the dangers of human trafficking.

Predatory behavior is determined by age of victim so what I talk to my six year old about is very different from what I talk to my twenty year old about.

As we chatted with Rebecca Bender, trafficking survivor turned expert, and mom to four beautiful daughters, we couldn’t help but ask for her expert advice on how to start the conversation. We were once again inspired by her extremely practical advice and knew we had to share it with you! Here’s what Rebecca had to say:

Predatory behavior is determined by age of victim so what I talk to my six year old about is very different from what I talk to my twenty year old about. I have four daughters: 6, 8, 10 & 20 and therefore each is a very different convo. We use analogies like the movie Frozen to remind our little ones that not everyone who pretends to be your friend is who they say they are - look at Hans... he tricked Ana to get the kingdom.

We are age appropriate of course, but tools like Good Touch Bad Touch, Good Pictures Bad Pictures are valuable for small kids. Learning about internet safety on gaming devices for my other two and then of course social media and smart decisions for my college daughter.

Talk to your children (young & old) about what to do when they are in situations that make them uncomfortable. We have to pull the line further back than just "immediate danger."

I think it's important for parents to know that we have to talk to kids about what to do when they simply feel uncomfortable. Many trafficking, abusive or exploitative behaviors start with testing boundaries. Talk to your children (young & old) about what to do when they are in situations that make them uncomfortable. We have to pull the line further back than just "immediate danger."

I don’t know about you, but it’s certainly movie night at my house tonight and we'll be screening Frozen. It’s time to “pull the line further back” and give our kids the language and knowledge they need to protect themselves. We are so grateful for Rebecca, her story, her bravery, her tenacity, her expertise and how generously she shares with communities like ours. Thank you Rebecca!


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