Red Flags: Identifying and Preventing Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is an epidemic that is catching the eyes of leaders and concerned citizens globally. Though many people consider this to be a third-world problem, it is affecting families in every community, including Indianapolis.

Indiana statute defines human trafficking and sexual trafficking of adults and minors, but it is important to remember that victims and traffickers are difficult to classify.

“Traffickers can be anyone – any age, any race, any gender [and] any socioeconomic background. They typically have some connection to the victim,” said Kate Kimmer, Statewide Anti-Trafficking Coordinator with the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault, an organization that develops and coordinates victim services for adult survivors of trafficking. “Victims are equally as dynamic, but we are seeing trends that suggest particular communities and populations are disproportionately impacted by this crime.”

“Victims can be adults or minors,” said Karen Maher, Region 5 Coalition Coordinator for Indiana Trafficking Victim Assistance Program, which trains individuals around the state to identify and address trafficking situations while also finding ways to meet the needs of victims. “However, youth are particularly vulnerable due to lack of life experience, impressionability and their judgment and reasoning not yet being fully developed. Runaway [and] homeless youth, youth with a history of abuse and LGBTQI youth with a lack of support are especially at risk.”

Read more on Indy With Kids.

Starting Conversations to Improve Teen Sexual Health Education

According to Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in 2015 41.7 percent of Indiana high school students reported having had sexual intercourse at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, 31.7 percent reported being sexually active, meaning they had had sexual intercourse with at least one partner during the three-month period prior to taking the survey.

Additionally, the New York Times recently reported that cases of sexually transmitted diseases have risen in the U.S., with chlamydia in particular showing high rates among 15- to 24-year-olds.

With statistics as high as these, some organizations are working to ensure youth have the appropriate knowledge when it comes to sexual health and reproduction.

Continue reading at Indy With Kids.