On Wednesday, December 13, 2017 we hosted our fifth #FosterChat on Twitter (@SaintAorg), in partnership with the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families and special guest, Exploit No More. We brought awareness to the danger of child sex trafficking on foster care. According to our Twitter snapshot on Union Metrics, our twitter chat had over 94,000 potential impressions, reaching 12,312 people.
We know this was a specialized topic, we appreciate everyone that came to participate or learn from the answers provided! If you missed December’s #FosterChat, you can join us next month as we discuss the impact of trauma on Wednesday, January 10 at Noon (CST). Below is our recap of this month’s educational chat.
Q1: What are the characteristics of the victims of #SexTrafficking?
A1: Victims are often from communities with high rates of crime, poverty, lack of opportunities/family support, and/or have a history of physical/sexual abuse. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
A1: There are no set group of characteristics for victims of #sextrafficking. It affects individuals of all socioeconomic statuses. The commonality is that there is a void that is being filled through the trafficking such as lack of basic needs or emotional neglect. #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A1 Sadly victims can be almost anyone who is vulnerable or looking for relationships in lieu of heathy, family ones #FosterChat— Michelle Sieg (@MichelleSieg) December 13, 2017
Q2: Who are the abusers of #SexTrafficking?
A2: Child #SexTrafficking is usually a mobile business where “the team” goes from town to town, posting ads.— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
It often masquerades as prostitution.
They offer stories of a better life and lure with expensive gifts. #FosterChat
A2 (1/2): Abusers of #sextrafficking include two sets of people: the trafficker/pimp who is often a family member, close relative, or a romantic interest and the person who buys sex using the victim for their personal needs. #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A2 (2/2): #sextrafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry and in America, middle age, married, white males are typically the individuals paying for sex. Check out this article: https://t.co/DdCdnle0j8 from @sciam that talks more about why men by sex. #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A2: abusers are anyone who takes advantage of the most vulnerable population by offering what they know they need #fosterchat— Fostering Footprints (@Fosterfootprint) December 13, 2017
Q3: (We know #SexTrafficking happens world-wide.) What are the concerns for children in Wisconsin (or your state)?
A3: 79% of human trafficking cases reported in WI occur in the city of MKE.— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
It’s a problem that is happening in our streets and right in our backyard.
It has been documented in all 72 counties of WI. #FosterChat
A3 (1/3): Major concerns are the array of vulnerabilities that traffickers look to exploit. Ex: runaway youth in need of basic shelter, food, and clothing. Or a child who doesn’t feel loved at home. #sextrafficking #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A3 (2/3): Lack of community and parental awareness about #sextrafficking. Studies show that many are still unaware that trafficking happens in #wisconsin. Check out @Polaris_Project for WI #humantrafficking facts and @MKEMomsBlog for education for parents and youth. #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A3 (3/3): Lack of housing, specifically for the children who are victims of #sextrafficking. There is a high level of trauma, complex trauma, PTSD, hypersexualization, and more that they need help with and there are extremely limited options. #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A3: I feel there is the issue of people not looking at #sextrafficking for what it is. People want to pretend it's not happening here. Traffickers know these things. The issue needs to be recognized that it's happening in quiet neighborhoods. #fosterchat— Lacey's Hope Project (@LaceysHope) December 13, 2017
Q4: What creates greater vulnerability for children in foster care to be trafficked?
A4: A greater number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), family dysfunction, isolation, poverty, substance abuse, and mental health issues can cause children in foster care to be more vulnerable. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
A4: Lack of basic needs/Missing a “permanent” place or family to be connected with/Previous abuse or emotional trauma/Abuse in the foster home.— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
Traffickers will make it seem as if living with them is a better option, that they will make life better. #sextrafficking #fosterchat
Q5: What do future (or current) foster parents need to know about serving this population?
A5: Parents need to educate themselves and be aware of the risks.— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
Create an environment with consistency, trust, and follow through to strengthen your relationship.
Know the people in your child’s life. #FosterChat
A5 (1/2): #sextrafficking is not a "small scope issue" and neither is #aftercare. Being aware of #ptsd, triggers, flashbacks, mental illness, a history of abuse before the trafficking started, and relapse is so important. #fosterchat pic.twitter.com/6yY99S2JOG— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A5 (2/2): Often victims run back to their trafficker/abuser (on average 5-8 times) because that lifestyle is familiar. The beauty in that is that when a victim returns home continues to heal. Healing is a process. #fosterchat #sextrafficking— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A5 (2/2) One that is trafficked is more times than not still participating in their "normal" lives. Traffickers don't want to tip people off & if that means having their victims keep up a "normal" schedule that's what they will do. Especially during grooming process #fosterchat— Lacey's Hope Project (@LaceysHope) December 13, 2017
Q6: What can foster parents look for to protect their children?
A6: Older boyfriend/girlfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle, dressing less appropriately than before, receives expensive gifts, sexualized behavior, overly tired in class, withdrawn, depressed, and/or distracted. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
A6 (1/2): Protecting our kids takes #education and #prevention. Communicating that they are loved and cared for (wherever they are living), giving them tools to advocate for themselves, and know the red flags of #sextrafficking. #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
Q7: How can we encourage our children to empower themselves and their friends?
A7: Have your children be accountable for their time and have them check in with their friends and parents. Remind them to listen to their gut feelings – if it feels weird/wrong, it probably is. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
A7 (1/2): #empowerment is one of the greatest tools! Create a plan with them for future dreams/goals. Define what a healthy friendship looks like. Head over to @MKEMomsBlog to read our #sextrafficking series geared towards parents & youth. #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A7 (2/2): Help kids find their individual purpose in life. What they want to accomplish is vital. By supporting them in their dreams and goals, a major vulnerability, lack of confidence, can be reduced. #sextrafficking #fosterchat— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A7: We can empower our youth by creating an open dialogue with them about what healthy relationships look like and by creating a trusting relationship between the child & foster parents. That way, the child knows it's safe for them to confide in their foster parents. #FosterChat https://t.co/51JFB0PxZc— The Village Network (@TVillageNetwork) December 13, 2017
Q8: What can you do if you suspect someone is a victim of #SexTrafficking?
A8: Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.373.7888. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
A8: IF YOU SUSPECT SOMEONE IS A VICTIM OF #SEXTRAFFICKING – Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number 888-3737-888 (run by @Polaris_Project) This hotline is connected to local/national resources and is designed to serve victims of #humantrafficking. #fosterchat https://t.co/zScYipGo7b— Exploit No More (@ExploitNoMore) December 13, 2017
A8 2/2: If you feel like someone is in immediate danger, contact your local authorities sensitive crimes unit. Don't do nothing. A bystander, someone who went with their gut instinct did exactly this for me: picked up the phone. The reason why I am sitting here today. #FosterChat— Lacey's Hope Project (@LaceysHope) December 13, 2017
Thank you so much to @ExploitNoMore and our passionate community for sharing such great answers in this chat! We look forward to seeing you again next month!
Learn more about becoming a foster parent at GrowHope.net!
Thank you for joining today's #FosterChat – we appreciate all of the insights provided by our special guest, @ExploitNoMore!— SaintA (@SaintAorg) December 13, 2017
Join us on Jan. 10 with @CoalitionforCYF as we look into the Impact of Trauma. pic.twitter.com/weWhIZS8c2