For years, child sex traffickers have targeted teens at malls and schools. Now they’re doing it on social media. It’s so disturbing to a group of Utah kids that they’ve volunteered to become the next-generation’s weapon against human traffickers.
This week, the teens are learning the warning signs and skills to alert the community to the underdog child sex trafficking industry.
Predators now use the internet to lure or force children into prostitution. In 2011, Salt Lake Police reported rescuing 150 kids in Utah from the sex trade since 2006. Nationally, the Polaris Project, a non-profit which tracks human trafficking, has reported that 100,000 to 300,000 American kids become slaves each year. The Department of State also reports that approximately 80 percent of trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. Ages 13 to 17 are the most vulnerable.
High school students from California, Idaho, Texas, Minnesota, Kansas, Arizona, Iowa, and Utah converge at the University of Utah for the Backyard Broadcast Summit. This week-long summit hosted by Child Rescue aims to train students to be “station chiefs” within their communities. In essence, these teens will learn the realities of modern-day slavery and the tools to keep themselves and their peers safe.