January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and as parents and caregivers of teenagers, what do we need to know? If you could learn from a Detective who is a 25-year Veteran and served in the area of Human Trafficking for 13 years, what questions would you have? Would you even know what to ask? Thankfully, I got a chance to talk and take a class with Detective Heidi Chance who created this course for parents and caregivers: “Sex Trafficking: The Power of Awareness.”
Detective Heidi Chance is dedicated to bringing Human Trafficking Awareness in the hopes of bringing criminals to justice, helping victims get free, preventing someone from becoming a victim, and is offering you the chance to take her classes about Human Trafficking as well.
Please note: Detective Heidi Chance did provide a free abbreviated class training for me and a few other parents. I receive no commission in promoting this class. I choose to promote this class because after taking it I realized what Detective Heidi provided was invaluable information not only for parents and caregivers of teenagers but also for anyone who may be in danger, as Human Trafficking is an epidemic that is no respecter of age, gender, socioeconomic class, and so on.
I was very thankful for this opportunity to take part in understanding and gaining more knowledge about this epidemic so I could do my part in helping to bring others the same opportunity especially as there is a dedicated focus in January for Human Trafficking Awareness Month. You’ll find more information on her course here: “Sex Trafficking: The Power of Awareness.” and use code “AWARENESSMONTH” for a discount code that Det. Heidi Chance is giving to our followers.
Breakdown of Det. Heidi’s Class on Human Trafficking Awareness:
Module 1. Defining the problem
This module will discuss the definition of Human Trafficking and how it differs from Human Smuggling.
Module 2. Evolution of the problem and law enforcement response. Detective Chance will discuss the change in perspective law enforcement went through as they responded to the sex trafficking problem.
Module 3. Victims’ vulnerabilities will be discussed in this module on how traffickers use coercion & control to manipulate victims—the role of the internet and its contribution to the sex trafficking problem. A discussion about minors involved in sex trafficking is included.
Module 4. Discusses sex buyers and their contribution to the demand for the sex trafficking problem. Some of the consequences buyers face will also be addressed.
Module 5. Traffickers- What is grooming? What are recruitment tactics traffickers use to find and keep victims, and what are the dynamics of a traffickers business?
Module 6. Recognizing possible trafficking and how to report it.
Final Module: The conclusion of the course will include information about what YOU can do to help with the fight against sex trafficking
In recent years, more information has come to help bring about human trafficking awareness. I know as a parent many questions came to mind and one of them being, “How do I protect my children from being a victim of human trafficking?” Also working in Youth Ministry for 15 years in many ways, “How do I help with an issue that is so grand and affecting the very people I have been called to?” However, what I didn’t realize was how many misconceptions there were surrounding the topic of human trafficking and how many questions I wasn’t asking either from ignorance or lack of perspective.
Learn More about Detective Heidi Chance, Human Trafficking Awareness Activist:
Heidi Chance, is a retired law enforcement professional who served 25 years. She is a leader and consultant who equips other law enforcement and other organizations with the tools and awareness to fight for a chance for change in the realm of sex trafficking. Heidi spent over 13 years working as an undercover detective investigating buyers and traffickers and rescuing countless adult and juvenile victims of sex trafficking.
She has testified as an expert witness in court proceedings and is a subject matter expert in the area of sex trafficking. Her specialized sex trafficking training has educated professionals within community groups, child safety departments, probation, jail and corrections staff, other local law enforcement agencies, medical staff, school personnel and officers attending the Phoenix Police Academy. She has also developed an 8 hour advanced detective training course that is featured online for the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board on the subject of human trafficking.
She is a highly sought-after powerhouse speaker, consultant, and nationally recognized trainer. Since 2014, she often travels across the United States teaching other law enforcement agencies for the National Justice Training Center (NCJTC) of Fox Valley Technical College, Amber Alert program. She is also featured in the Frontline PBS documentary “Sex Trafficking in America”.
Heidi is passionate about the POWER OF AWARENESS and making a CHANCE for change for sex trafficking victims and the community understands the growing sex trafficking problem in our communities. Through her work she has witnessed the POWER OF AWARENESS working in the investigations and trials she has experienced. She is the creator and founder of ChanceConsultingLeo.com and has a community Blog posted at achanceforawareness.com, you can also find her on IG: @a_chance_for_awareness
15 Quick Tips on Human Trafficking Awareness for parents from Det. Heidi Chance:
- Talk to your teens about the people around them.
- Know who is reaching out to your child.
- Let them know that they can come to you if they suspect someone is trying to mislead them.
- Teach your kids about the world.
- Teach them to protect themselves online and be suspicious about people’s advancements in their private messages.
- Spend time with your teen away from electronic devices.
- Talk to your teen about sex.
- Make sure your child knows that anything posted on the internet LASTS FOREVER! Teach them to never post inappropriate photos/videos
- Teach your child to never post anything about “having trouble at home”, no matter how angry they may get at their parents.
- Know your child’s passwords and all social media profiles
- Monitor your child’s accounts, even if you have to create a fake account
- Make sure your teen knows the reality of an open profile and be suspicious of “friend requests” and “followers”
- Teach your child to never share personal information about themselves online or in private messages, including using their full name on their profiles.
- Make sure your child knows your phone number by heart.
- If your state has “sexting” laws, make sure your child is aware that they can face criminal punishments for posts online.
Some added questions and notes, from myself in my experience in working with Youth and in the Youth Ministry realm, in relation to the Human Trafficking Awareness Tips above. If these become too overwhelming, bookmark this page and come back to it as often as you need to reflect, go through, and maybe even mark off some of the questions as you go over it with your child:
1. Do you know who has direct influence over your child’s life? Are they Godly influences? Do you know their names? Regardless if they are working in the church, beloved Coach, or in direct familial relationship with your teen, are they a Godly influence in your child’s life? How much access do they have to your teen?
2. Do you know your child’s phone, computer device, gaming system, or any other form of digital communication and who, what time, and how often people are reaching out? Do you have their passwords, safeguards in place, like computer filtering systems, or are they hiding everything including when they are using these devices?
3. Do you have weekly and/or daily check-ins with your teenagers? Our days, weeks, and months can fly by without checking in with each other. They may be dealing with stuff and don’t know how to approach you or feel like they don’t want to bother you for whatever reason. Do they know their is an open door for communication at whatever time needed. Sometimes, doors open at “inconvenient times” but do we stop everything anyway because this may be the moment of their breakthrough and we don’t want to miss it?
4. Do we take the time to stop and show our teenagers the reasons why we choose the choices we make? As we are walking out our own faith, we need to show our teenagers why we choose what we choose so they can know how to walk out their own faith journey in practical ways. Do we show them how the enemy works so they can recognize it for themselves? There is only so much we can control, let us take the time to show them how to function in this world and how to call out to the Lord for help if we aren’t available for whatever reason.
5. Do they know they can come to you even with embarrassing situations especially ones sexual in nature? Some teenagers may be too embarrassed to acknowledge these messages or situations sexual in nature that are happening to them. As soon as you can, schedule a one on one meeting with your teenagers to let them know that even if they are embarrassed, you are a safe place to come to for help and should, for their safety. Ask them if anything has happened or is happening and help them get through it. Don’t be so quick to discipline them, take this time to listen especially if this is the first meeting in talking about stuff like this. You don’t want to shut down what you are trying to open up
6. Do you and your family have screen free time set in your schedules? What do you do during that time? Screen free time allows everyone to reset in so many ways. It allows the opportunity for everyone to open up and talk without the distractions of computer devices. It may be the very time needed for your teenager(s) to open up about what may be happening to them.
7. Have you had a Godly conversation with your teenager about sex? I know you may want to avoid the topic because you may be uncomfortable with it, you may be depending on the school system to deal with it, don’t know where to begin, or figure they already know about it from their friends or whoever and don’t feel the need to talk about it. Teenager(s) need to hear about the Godly perspective of sex from you. You are called to set the biblical foundation and understanding of sex. If you don’t know where to begin, need help, and more information on the how-to, click HERE: “Christian Sex Education | 6 Truths on What NOT to do When Teaching Teens about Sex.”
8. Do you know if they have posted anything sexual in nature or something they will regret years down the line? Do you have access to all their social media? Do they fully understand the depths and lifespan photos and videos have when they are put online? Have you shown them cases of young girls and guys who have had awful consequences, some even taking their life, because of what they posted of themselves online? Teenagers have taken their life because they felt there was no other way out. They need our help. Keep your teenagers as far away from social media for as long as possible. They aren’t mature enough to know the dangers and giving them a “loaded weapon”, a phone with full access with the opportunity to sin, may yield serious consequences. Even the most “mature” teenagers with Godly motives can end up falling to sin because of the constant availability to do so with computer access.
For those who have already allowed them online, it’s never too late to put restrictions, take away, or change what needs to be changed according to what Holy Spirit is leading you to. It takes courage to stand up for the Lord and yes, sometimes even to your teenager and take back what the enemy has stolen. Stay prayerful and ask the Lord to strengthen you.
9. Is your teenager too trusting? Do they release everything they are going through to whoever will listen especially through social media outlets? Have you responded if they did release too much information? Again, have you made the space and time to listen to them regularly and check in? Information is currency in the kingdom of darkness. People will use information and sometimes for devious means.
Teaching your children the value of speaking when needed and to who if they feel like they can’t come to you is important. Do they know what this looks like? Have you gone through scenarios with them?
10. Do you know all their passwords and check those passwords weekly? Sometimes teenagers will give you a password and then change it later without you knowing. Do you know all their social media profiles, even the fake ones. Yes, teenagers will create fake profiles. They will give the Godly version to parents, Pastors, and Youth Leaders, while having the “real” one for their peers and friends. Do you do surprise checks on their phone? Oftentimes, I’ll ask my almost teen to hand over her iPad right in the middle of her doing something. Check, check, and check again! If you are unsure, ask Holy Spirit to expose it to you, He tells on everyone.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13)
11. Do you know your account can be blocked? Oftentimes, teenagers will block parents, parents’ friends, Pastors, basically anyone who will hold them accountable. Do you have a fake account to check and see if they happen to have other accounts? Do you have consequences in place in case you find them being deceitful? Finding out about lies and deceptions are one thing, but what do we do with the information once we have it? It may be difficult to take away something they love but may be the very thing they need to get healthy again. You may see a decline in their health and oftentimes see improvement after removing devices. Replace the time they would’ve been on their device and spend time with them, have them learn a new hobby outside of tech, replace it with God time, or do all of the above.
You can replace “man” here with your teenager. Sometimes, we are trying to seek their approval more than the Lord’s. We are called to be His servants not theirs.
12. Does your teenager know that an open profile, a profile that is not set to private, invites both wanted and unwanted attention? Sometimes, teenagers are so focused on the attention they do want that they don’t think about the attention they may not want. Do they know that people may not be who they say they are? We may think at this day and age many teenagers would know that people misrepresent themselves, want to do them harm, and can easily kidnap or abuse them but many don’t. Do they know if they release detailed information about their lives including what sport they are in, what school they go to, even what their siblings are into, what restaurant they are currently eating at, are all ways perpetrators can have access to them and their loved ones?
13. Does your child know not to share personal information with anyone? Even if it’s people they know, friends, crushes, friends of friends, we never know who is being sent to gain information on you, them, or your family. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. If people couldn’t get information from me, they would try my husband, or go to my kids. I often have meetings with my children on what information we are sharing and what we aren’t when it comes to family matters especially during times of hardships or life changes.
It’s wisdom to not be an open book to everybody. Teaching this to your children may not only help bring about human trafficking awareness but may also save them from other types of heartache.
14. Many of us grew up in a time where we memorized many people’s phone numbers by heart. With technology now, no one is memorizing anyone’s phone numbers. Does your child know your phone number by heart, your husband’s, maybe an elder sibling, grandparents? Do they know your address? It never hurts to check with your child to make sure they do know it. Oftentimes, we assume they know something but when we ask they may be clueless to the answer. Now’s the time.
15. Did you even know there was “sexting” laws? I didn’t! I had to research this for myself. We often think about perpetrators coming against our kids, but do we know that our kids could be held accountable for producing sexual images and distributing them even if it was something they wanted to do? Look up the “sexting” laws in your state and make sure both you and your child know what they are.
Everything gets revealed at some point. Our children need to know what the possible consequences could be on their end not only in the physical sense but in the spiritual sense as well.
I’m so thankful for Human Trafficking Awareness Month where there is a focus on this epidemic and for people like Detective Heidi Chance who have dedicated their time and energy working in the area of bringing Human Trafficking Awareness to people including parents who may not have an opportunity to learn about it.
If you are interested in taking Detective Heidi Chance’s course, you can find it here: “Sex Trafficking: The Power of Awareness.” Be sure to check out her bio above for other ways to connect with her.
Baskets of Blessings,