Ways to Start the Conversation With Your Kids

7 Feb, 2023

Human trafficking can make victims of people of any age and gender, but there are certain demographics that are more likely to be targeted. Many studies have revealed that speaking to children and educating them on the facts of human trafficking can be a great first line of defence. The more you know, the better you can protect them, but the more they know, the better they can protect themselves.

Youth, teenagers and young adults are better able to protect themselves when they are familiar with what human trafficking really is, so to start, gain the knowledge you need to talk to your child and answer the questions they may have. Parents often have an understandable knee jerk reaction to protect their kids, but in reality kids need to hear the truth. It’s important to remember Hollywood often glorifies trafficking, so the knowledge they have is often skewed.

How can you gain information?

  • Read to gain an understanding of what human trafficking information is and what it isn’t.
  • Speak to professionals to gain insight and ask questions.
  • Attend workshops, informational sessions, and webinars.


Suggestions of what to talk to your kids about:

Warning signs
Many people who are pulled into human trafficking awareness did not know that it was even happening until it was too late. They trusted their trafficker(s) and thought they were safe. When speaking to your children, be sure to show them where it happens, how to recognize the warning signs, but avoid overwhelming them. The key is to make them aware, not afraid.

Gut feelings
Many of us have a tough time trusting our own intuition or gut feelings, but it’s important for children to trust their instincts. When that red flag goes up, teach them to listen to it and evaluate the situation. Society often tells us to be trusting and not rock the boat, but the truth is, if something feels off, it probably is. Help them by telling stories of your own use of intuition or everyday experiences when you had to trust your gut.

Healthy Relationships
We assume everyone knows what a healthy relationship looks like; whether it be a friend, family, loved one or spouse, and that we are modeling them for our kids. Not knowing what this truly looks like or the behaviours of someone who is faking a healthy relationship leaves us vulnerable. Use the following topics to explain what needs to be established for a relationship to be healthy.

  • Respect
  • Consent
  • Honesty
  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Boundaries
  • Equality
  • Open communication


Understanding when to get help

Sometimes it’s embarrassing to ask for help. The horrifying things that victims experience leave them isolated and not everyone understands how it could all happen. Those affected can’t imagine anyone wanting to hear their story and don’t know how to tell others everything that happened. Become a safe space for your children to confide in by telling and showing them:

  • Sex trafficking is never the victim’s fault.
  • It’s okay to ask for help.
  • They can come to you any time, even if they have broken rules.
  • There are other trusted adults or community supports that can help, too.

Personal Space

In North America, they teach us from an early age that in order to respect others, we have to put our own emotions to the side. You HAVE to kiss or hug your relatives when they ask. You’re rude if you say no to someone invading your personal space. Instead, make sure your children know that they have a right to their personal bubble and are allowed to say no to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. They have a right to say no to any parent, friend, family member, doctor, ect who want to touch, see, ask or do anything to their bodies that they aren’t comfortable with. 

These are just a few tips to help you become more aware and open when it comes to protecting your child. It can be overwhelming, but know this: there is no harm in being honest about what you don’t know and learning alongside your child. When your children ask questions you don’t know how to answer, work as a team to find the questions online or from an educated person and use that as a learning lesson itself.