What You Need to Know About Teens and Sex Trafficking
The Super Bowl is over, another blow-out party with hype about the commercials and superstars. As a mom of teen boys, the media coverage of one Super Bowl event didn’t leave my thoughts after reading it on my Twitter feed. It’s the subject of sex-trafficking.
“Boys will be boys” people say. As a professional in public schools, I hear parents say this when excusing their child’s behavior. There’s a tendency for parents to turn a blind eye when sons reach adolescence.
But it’s also the unspoken reaction to sex trafficking in the United States. As a counselor, teacher and parent of teen boys, I refuse to believe that sexual exploitation is okay because it’s just what men do. I refuse to forfeit the expectation that sons should live with integrity, self-control and respect for women and others. I refuse to believe living in the twenty-first century means we disregard sexual trafficking as the hottest business trend.
Forgive my boldness, but somewhere the exploitation of women and children for sexual gratification has to end. Societal change has to be intentional. It begins in our homes and families as we train and instill values into our kids. Teens, especially, are key to either perpetuating sexual exploitation of women and children or changing it. As parents, we have a substantial responsibility and opportunity to impact the acceptability and consumerism of sex trafficking.
I recently asked friends in social media what they’re struggling with as parents of ten to twenty-year olds. Several of them asked, “How do we raise kids in this sex-saturated culture?” The question is foundationally tied to the demand for sex trafficking. To answer it, we have to be honest with ourselves.
What are your views about sexual exploitation, trafficking and pornography? Consider the following questions:
- Do you see a problem with sexual exploitation of women, children or boys? Do you use pornography?
- Do you perpetuate the “boys will be boys” attitude?
- Do you ignore the issue because you don’t think it would ever touch someone in your life?
- Do you feel uncomfortable or at a loss with how to talk to your sons or daughters about sex, pornography or things “on the dark side?”
- Do you think your son or daughter could ever be exposed, participate in, or be a victim of sex trafficking?
- Do you feel helpless because you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse? Do you know it wasn’t your fault?
- Do you believe this is something where you can impact change?
As a professional, I’ve seen and heard enough to know the business of sexual trafficking crosses every socio-economic, professional, gender and cultural barrier. Being a parent makes this problem personal to you. Our sons and daughters will make choices that either perpetuate or change the problem.
As you consider your own perceptions and attitudes, consider how they may influence your children’s beliefs. Let’s start discussing how to raise men and women to be leaders for integrity and change.
Will you join us? What’s your perspective on the topic? We’d love to hear your thoughts
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