Sex trafficking survivor turned advocate, Elixa Bleu, says the Coronavirus Shutdown is a ‘Perfect Storm’ for Abuse. According to Bleu, it is already starting.
“Pre-teens and teens at home alone with their parents for days on end due to school closures will be groomed by predators online…they will be promised a ‘better life’ if they run away,” said Bleu. Statistics show that the average runaway is trafficked within 48 hours of leaving home.
Bleu said parents and guardians need to be “extra vigilant” when monitoring their child’s online activity during the quarantine. She provides these safety tips that should be communicated to minors:
- Never share pictures of yourself online that you wouldn’t want to be seen by your family.
- Set user profiles to private so only real friends can get access.
- Know who you’re chatting with.
- Don’t share personal information online such as your full name, school, address or phone number, or user passwords.
- Don’t meet up in person with anyone you met online.
- Report suspected abuse to law enforcement or a trusted adult.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline, which is always available is 1-888-373-7888.