This begins a series of blogs on how families, communities, villages, churches - can protect our own children, grandchildren, neighbors, relatives, and acquaintances from sex trafficking.
The first and most effective means of prevention starts in the home.
With the family.
With lots of affection.
The sense of belonging deep within each child's heart.
As parents or guardians, where do we even begin? The task may seem daunting, overwhelming, but let's start with talking amongst family members. Talk about big things, little things, scary things, warm and fuzzy things. Talk about fears, failures, successes, hopes, dreams.
talk to your children about the "birds and the bees": SEX!
In their language. On their terms. In their timing.
Talking about sex with your children, openly, honestly, and age-appropriately - takes the stigma away. It then becomes just another topic that your family talks about.
This is safe. This is healthy. It creates relationship.
Talk openly about body parts, menses, hormones, dating, sex. Find books on-line for age appropriate education regarding sex.
1) Teach the facts but go further. Talk to your child about your opinions and beliefs on all aspects of sexuality, including what makes for healthy relationships.
2) Be a ‘tellable’ parent. Really listen to what your child is saying to you about their life and about their joys, concerns and worries. They will do this through their words and actions. Try to listen without judgement.
3) Be an ‘askable’ parent. Through your words and tone, welcome your child’s curiosity. Ask gentle questions to see what your child already knows, before adding some new information. Don’t assume that they know things because they use certain words. If you don’t have the Answer to your child’s question, it’s OK to say that you don’t know but will find out.
4) Teach body ownership. Impress on your child that their body is their own and they don’t have to let anyone touch it in a way that is unsafe and/or unwanted. They must also learn that other people have similar rights. This is the beginning of giving a child control over their body and teaching them about consent.
5) Prepare yourself. Consider your own values and attitudes and encourage other family members to do this too. Try to anticipate your child’s needs as they develop. Use support materials to help you decide what messages about relationships and sexuality you would like to communicate and how you would like to do this.
6) Start early and keep it simple and honest. Talk to your child about their developing sexuality from the time they are very young. This will help to make these conversations normal and build a healthy habit of communicating about sexuality and other sensitive issues.
a. Simple but honest answers work best for young children. If they want to hear more, they will ask more questions.
b. Don’t worry if you over-explain. If it’s beyond the child’s interest and understanding, it will generally go over their heads.
7) Layer don’t load. It’s not a one-off performance. You will get many chances to have these conversations, so don’t try to fit everything in at once. As y our child’s interest and understanding develop with age, it is important to revisit topics as you go along.
Deal with what is currently relevant for your child and use the teachable moments that arise in everyday life to start a conversation (not a lecture). (htt)
The United Nations has excellent resources on their website: https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/index.html
Two downloadable resources for parents from an anti-trafficking organization called A21:
Please visit our website, Homes of Hope Fiji, to join our team through prayer, giving, educating others, visiting, or volunteering.