Two decades ago we became aware of the plight of women and children who were being trafficked in the Far East. Then reports began to trickle into our consciousness of Eastern European women being tricked by ads for jobs in foreign countries, only to find themselves trafficked and forced into prostitution.

Eventually criminals realized that trading in human flesh is safer and more lucrative than drug trafficking. There are no billion-dollar government task forces to hunt down and prosecute sex traffickers. “Merchandise” is readily available and easily transported. Greed and opportunity have caused this growing industry to spill over American borders, and now our children and young women are endangered.

Sex traffickers recruit women and children three ways: coercion, abduction, and buying children from their parents. Traffickers know how to individualize their tactics to best coerce vulnerable girls and boys. Kids can be picked off at shopping malls, clubs, city streets, and virtually any public place.

The country was shocked when a 5-year North Carolina girl was sold into sex slavery. But this is likely to become more common unless law enforcement agencies are provided adequate funding to specifically target sex trafficking, and until those who trade, as well as those who purchase human beings are prosecuted and punished with sentences befitting their crimes against humanity.

As awful as this subject is, parents can’t mince words when it comes to educating innocent kids. Simply and explicitly explain sex trafficking: Women and children are held captive and raped for the rest of their lives. When they are used up they are discarded, even killed. Today 2.5 million women and children are sexually enslaved. Very few have escaped from this life.

It’s no longer enough to “know” where your kids are. They must be with you, or with a trusted adult at all times. Strict monitoring of computer use can save your child’s life. Sex traffickers can toy with your children over the Internet at their leisure, until they have them emotionally entrapped and primed.

When your children go off to college or travel they must be educated and aware. Sex traffickers can appear to be sweet old ladies, who in reality are skilled at tricking girls by say, asking for help. If someone seemingly needy asks for assistance, girls should get a policeman or a security guard to help. They should be trained to understand the difference between being polite and putting themselves into danger. Kids should never lose themselves in alcohol or drugs. They should avoid stairwells, elevators, clubs, bars, and deserted streets where they can be whisked out of sight. They should know that offers of modeling and dancing careers that seem too good to be true, are. Millions of girls have lost their lives believing they were going to be famous, or have better opportunities.

Sex trafficking is an established global trade today. It’s up to parents to protect children by developing trusting, open relationships, and by educating them to the very real dangers posed by this industry.

Author's Bio: 

Women’s rights advocate and investigative writer Nancy Deville drew from the experiences of her “unconventional life” to craft her powerful first novel, Karma. As a teenager, Nancy hitchhiked across India and lived and worked in Spain and Switzerland. Returning to the U.S., she worked 15 years as a successful fashion designer and wrote and co-authored influential books on food and health. Karma is based on her two decades of research into the global sex trade that enslaves 2.5 million women and children. It is a story of courage, hope and spirituality that will enlighten readers on this global problem and inspire them with what Nancy calls the true meaning of karma. To learn more, visit