Summer Social Media Educational Series – July 15th – July 23rd

Continuing our series – here are the social media posts from July 15th to 22nd.


July 15th – Victims of Sexual Exploitation

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks defining child sex abuse, commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in an effort to provide basic information on these horrific crimes.
Today we are going to begin discussing victim profiles. It is important to know that everyone can be at risk. It does not matter the gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or socio – economic class.
That said there are some things that make a person more vulnerable and over the coming days we will discuss those.

July 16th – Victims of Child Sex Abuse
Yesterday we noted that victims child sex abuse, commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking really can be anyone but that there are some things that can make someone more vulnerable. 
Let’s take a look at some things that could make a child at higher risk of being sexually abused.- Children living with just one biological parent
– When a child is exposed to frequent conflict between parents – Children whose parents emotionally/physically abusive
– A child whose parents are not ‘present’ – they don’t spend time with the child
– Children who have stepfathers
– A child whose parents/guardians do not teach them about their bodies or have age appropriate conversations about sex
The BEST protection is of course to develop and maintain a good relationship with your child, spend time with them and take child sex abuse prevention training.
July 17th – Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Today we continue our discussion on victims with a focus on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
Children and youth who have a history of child sex abuse are at increased risk of being commercially exploited. There are other risk factors and these include:
-Homeless youth
-Youth in care
-Neglect and maltreatment
-Family disfunction
-Societal sexualization of children
-lack of knowledge
That is one of the many reasons why we would like to see more focus on child sex abuse prevention. Imagine the impact we could have if we educated all adults so they could be proactive – and help educate their own children!
July 18th – Victims of Sex Trafficking

There are so many things that can make a person vulnerable to being trafficked. When you think about it EVERYONE has a vulnerability and traffickers prey on these.
Along with the risk factors we have discussed over the past couple of days, we add the following:
– Gender Inequality. While we do know that males are sex trafficked, females are more at risk.
– Low self – esteem. Those seeking externalvalidation, particularly young girls.
– A need for attention/love. Often victims fall prey to the attention a trafficker lavishes on them at the beginning.
– Gang involvement – entering a gang as a girlfriend of a gang member, and then being sold within or outside the gang for sexual acts. Youth who are born into gang-involved families are expected to contribute to the family business in any way the gang deems fit.
– Addictions-Some traffickers purposely supply drugs to vulnerable people to break down their resistance and coerce them into forced labour or sex.
– Racism and the Legacy of Colonialism – these contribute to the marginalization of people, particularly indigenous populations. They face systemic barriers such as limited access to education, employment, housing, and credit and this discrimination places them at a higher risk of being trafficked.

July 19th -Identifying Victims of Child Sex Abuse – Physical Indicators
We will spend the next few days discussing how to identify possible victims of child sex abuse and sex trafficking.
Today’s post begins our posts on child sex abuse victims.
Signs that a child is being sexually abused are often behavioural rather than physical.In fact physical signs are rare. Over the next couple of days we will discuss signs for both children and adolescents.
If there are physical signs – these will include the following:
– In young children – wetting and soiling accidents that are unrelated to toilet training
– In all ages – discoloration, pain, bleeding, discharges in genitals, anus or mouth
– Sexually transmitted diseases
July 20th – Identifying Victims of Child Sex Abuse – Behavioural Indicators
Continuing on our posts on how to identify potential victims of child sex abuse with today’s focus on behavioral signs in children and adolescents. As we mentioned yesterday, you are more likely to witness behavioral than physical signs. Please keep in mind that some of these signs can be seen in times of stress such as divorce, death in family or other traumatic events in a child’s life. If a number of these signs are present then it is possible that a child is being sexually abused – begin asking questions and seek help.
-Talks about a new older friend
-Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge
–Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
-Seems distracted or distant at odd times
-Has a sudden change in eating habits
-Refuses to eat
-Loses or drastically increases appetite
– Has trouble swallowing.
-Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal
-Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
-Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images
-Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
-Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
-Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason
-Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad
(adapted from Stop it Now)
July 21 – Identifying Victims of Child Sex Abuse –  Young Children

Yesterday we posted about some of the behavioural signs that might indicate a child is being sexually abused. Today we are focusing on additional signs that would apply to young children.

-New words for body parts – if you have taught them proper names, they may start using new names
-An older child regressing back to bed-wetting or thumb sucking
-A child who has been toilet trained who is havingmore frequent accidents
-Asking other children to play sexual games or to behave in a sexual manner
-Resists removing clothes at appropriate times (bath, bed, diapering, toileting)
– mimicking adult-like sexual behaviours with stuffed animals or toys
-Approaching adults in a sexualized manner

Once again we remind you that any one of these could also be caused by other stresses in the family (such as a new baby). If a number of these signs (and others discussed yesterday) are present then it is possible that a child is being sexually abused – begin asking questions and seek help.

July 22nd – Identifying Victims of Child Sex Abuse – Adolescents or Older Children
Continuing our discussion on possible signs of child sex abuse with today’s post focused on older children or adolescents. Along with some of the behavioural signs we mentioned in our post of July 20th, there are additional ones to look for in older children. These include:
-Self-injury (cutting, burning)
-Inadequate personal hygiene
-Drug and alcohol abuse
-Sexual promiscuity
-Running away from home
-Depression, anxiety
-Suicide attempts
-Fear of intimacy or closeness
-Compulsive eating or dieting
In addition – we think it’s important to note that for all children – sometimes what has been labeled as ADHD in a child is actually post traumatic stress disorder.
July 23rd – Identifying Children and Youth who are Commercially Sexually Exploited

This is such a complex issue but we do hope the information we are providing is helping you to understand a bit more on the topic of sexual abuse. Today we discuss identification of victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Our posts from July 15th to the 22nd include information on victim profiles and identification.
Children who are being bought and sold for sex will exhibit a number of the same behaviours as those who are sexually abused. There are however, some additional things to look for and these include the following;
-Frequent absences from school
-Hotel keys/key cards in their possession
-Luxury goods that they do not have the means for (ie designer handbags, shoes, clothing)
-Inconsistencies when describing and recounting events
-Prepaid cell phone
-Constant checking of phone and unusual amount of anxiety when they are separated from it or can’t answer immediately
-Bruises, burns, cuts – signs of physical abuse
-Constant presence of a controlling ‘boyfriend’
Don’t assume that use of drugs is by choice – sometimes traffickers will get victims hooked as a means of control.

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