FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — Advocates said human trafficking in Northwest Arkansas is more common than you may realize.
A common misconception about human trafficking is that it just happens in big cities, but not only is it happening in our country, it’s also happening in Arkansas.
Fayetteville-based National Child Protection Task Force Founder Kevin Metcalf said a lot of times we view human trafficking as something where people come in and raid other countries, but really it can be a lot more subtle than that.
Metcalf said human traffickers don’t match any specific description and social media and websites like youtube can make it easier for children to be targeted.
Metcalf said you can help protect your kids by simply understanding them better.
If parents really want to make a difference they are going to have to step up and form a relationship with their kids and actually listen to them.KEVIN METCALF, NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION TASK FORCE, FOUNDER
Aside from listening, Metcalf said you need to become informed.
He said the bad guys are always finding new ways to invade the barriers you put up, so be observant in learning about ways to continually protect your children.
Some ways you do this are:
- Inform your children — it’s important for kids to know that it’s not okay to talk to strangers online, even strangers who say they’re the same age or who have a profile picture that makes them look the same age.
- Know the signs — if your child suddenly has new clothes, jewelry, shoes, or phone (that you did not purchase) they may be involved with trafficking.
- Ask people you know to get involved and educated —ask your school, youth group, or neighborhood to get involved and get educated. There are organizations and programs ready to help.
He said the more everyone is informed, the better.