"Dear Parents" | Risky Behavior

Musings of a 15 year old.

I encourage you to envision what you think of when you hear the words ‘trafficking victim’. Perhaps you think of low-income minors selling their bodies to pay the bills. Maybe you think of third world countries and of the supposed slums of such places. Do you consider yourself invincible to trafficking? Do you consider your children invincible to trafficking?

An A+ student with multiple full ride college scholarships, a church kid, an avid bookworm with a small group of friends, the school historian, a volunteer, and an avid cyclist – I seem more like an upcoming success story than a trafficking one. I’ve started nonprofits, pioneered cycling groups for young girls, overcome a traumatic brain injury, and balance a great job with an internship. I am aiming to major in International Business with a minor in journalism. I come from an upper-middle class family, with a sister and two loving parents. Do I seem like what you imagine when you think about trafficking?

My Instagram messages lit up one night, it was a guy who apparently went to my school. I hadn’t met him before but it’s a large school so I didn’t think much of it. He said that he had just transferred and didn’t know anyone – I scrolled through his Instagram and it lined up so we talked. We talked about what we wanted to major in, where we wanted to travel, what we wanted from our lives. It was nice. He asked me to meet up with him at school in the quad. It was always busy and filled with people so I agreed. My friends told me not to since some parts of his story didn’t line up. I didn’t get trafficked because I didn’t talk to a trafficker – but what if I had? Just about every teen has dm’ed strangers before. It’s just luck that I didn’t meet a trafficker, but your child might not be as lucky.