Young people are full of amazing ideas, talents and strengths. Most young people also have something else: They are still kids! But, sometimes, you meet one who has had his childhood stolen from him. That fun, optimistic, excited person inside has been replaced with a wary, street-smart, weathered, old person. Most young people have eyes that sparkle out a zest for life. But, for some, that sparkle is replaced with the flat eyes of a teen who has seen too much evil.
Parents have to protect their children from predators. This means taking a stand against working in high-risk jobs, where predators prowl. Young people should not work in areas of town where the older men are looking for dates. Why? Because the knowledge of such evil steals the sparkle. It also puts the young people in imminent danger.
Know where your young person is roaming! Predators are skilled at gaining the trust of young people. Once that trust is gained, they can then manipulate the young person through positive attention, gifts, abuse, and threats of violence against other siblings. Predators will say, "If you tell, I'll do the same thing and worse to your little sister."
Relatives, neighbors, and babysitters have the potential of stealing your child's innocence. Develop a level of communication with your child, so you know what is happening. Always be watching.
Young people must protect themselves by avoiding areas where predators prowl. High-traffic tourist areas are dangerous for young people because predators blend in as tourists. Young people tend to trust friendly strangers who they meet in social situations. If possible, avoid bars and boardwalks, if you are not with your family. Being in adult places may make you feel important. But, you are swimming with sharks.
Too good to be true! Watch out for people and opportunities that are too easy or too good. Be content to have only the friendships, money and things that God provides for you. Don't give in to that offer for easy money or easy friendships.
This is especially true online! Only chat with and accept friend requests from people who you know. It is tempting to have lots of Facebook friends and talk to friendly people online. Some of them will be predators.
Listen to God
Memorize these Truths:
1. I am a child of God and am loved by my Father.
2. I am a special gift and my body is meant only for my future spouse.
3. I am a child of light and I don't belong in dark places.
4. I obey my parents unless they ask me to disobey God or be unsafe.
5. I listen to my parents, pastors, and teachers.
6. If something feels strange, I tell a trusted adult.
Be watchful for children who are in unsafe environments. Keep an eye out for adults who are grooming young people. Be an advocate for children who are being sexually abused by a relative. Often, these situations are hushed up by the family. It's the responsibility of every person to look out for the youth in the community. Be alert. If you see something strange, ask other trusted adults to help you find out what is going on. Don't just ignore it or think that someone else will take care of it. Importantly, get some training on what to look for and how to react! Is there something you can do proactively in your community to prevent abuse and trafficking? Ask your pastor about this.
#1: Don't ignore.
#2: Be wise in how you react.
#3: Involve other trusted adults.
It is estimated that 100,000 children under 18 of age are trafficked into the sex business yearly in the Philippines, according to Unicef.
According to the United States government, 600,000 to 800,00 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.
Extreme poverty and extreme choices. If you aren't from a majority world country, you might not understand extreme poverty. I'll give you an example from the community where I live. In Puerto Galera, an under-aged girl can work a 12-hour shift at a bar and get paid $6 (USD). The price for prostitution in Puerto Galera is $60. To a young person, $6/day seems like good money. But, the traffickers are looking to make $60 multiple times. Evil is sick. God hates trafficking. Let's do everything we can to prevent it.
Threads of Hope ministers to prevent poverty-driven extreme choices in the Aninuan community. We are providing opportunities for livelihood entrepreneurship, education, discipleship, recreation, and accountability. We all have a part to play in protecting youth from exploitation and trafficking. Thank you for what you are doing to protect and proactively provide for the youth in your community. Be brave, Be wise, Be vigilant.
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.