ROCKLIN (CBS13) – It’s never too soon to talk with your teen about the dangers of human trafficking, and advocates against the growing crime brought parents and their children together in Placer County to start those very discussions.
Dozens of parents and their children were at the training session Thursday night in Rocklin, learning how to recognize red flags and to know and enforce their own personal boundaries. The training was also about starting a dialogue between parents and their kids early on.
“It’s typically the counties that you don’t think it’s happening,” said Stand Up Placer Program Director Amy Maggard.
Human trafficking is a harsh reality in Placer County, which is why “It happens here” is now the theme of a training series to help protect kids.
“I came here to learn how to become safe and be aware of my surroundings,” said Ten-year-old Violet Warner.
Thursday’s training session was the second in a three-part series. The session aimed to educate ten and eleven-year-olds. Warner says she’s already being especially careful on social media.
“Make sure that it’s a friend and not an enemy,” she said.
The discussions aren’t easy, but they’re crucial. For Thursday’s group, they were age appropriate, focusing on things like trusting your instincts.
“We’re talking more about healthy relationships, consent, body boundaries and empowering youth to use that voice turn that voice up and stay safe,” Maggard said.
Stand Up Placer, a non-profit that works closely with sex trafficking victims, helped put on the training. Organizers say there’s a lot of misconception about who the majority of predators are. They’re not typically strangers, but rather people you already know.
“It’s typically a male, so to speak, actually befriending and romancing these victims,” said Maggard.
Part of the training also included developing safety networks. Kids wrote out a list of five people who are safe that they know and trust. Warner’s mom is thankful for the tools.
“If she finds herself in a situation she knows how to react and who to go to for help,” said Roseville mother Corinne Carpenter.
The third and final training will take place on October 17 and it’s for youth 12 to 18-year-olds. Organizers are asking parents to not attend that meeting because typically children are less inclined to talk openly when their parents or many adults are around.