TUCSON, Ariz. — Power Over Predators held a forum with parents and children on Wednesday night to discuss child sex trafficking prevention.
"Parents still feel ill equipped and have lots of questions about how they can safeguard their kids," Lisa Hansen, the group's founder said. "I am just thankful they showed up because they walked away with some tangible steps they can take."
Scott Speder, who has a 12-year-old daughter and a 10-year old son, said that he learned that he needs to keep his guard up.
"I need to engage," Speder said. "I need to be in good conversations with my kids. It's not that I didn't know that; it's just that heightened awareness."
Members of the Oro Valley Police Department were also at the forum to answer questions from parents. They recommend frequently checking your child's phone.
"You pay the bills," Sergeant Amy Graham said. "Pickup that phone, take a look, know what's going on in your kid's life. Know who they are talking to and if you do find something suspicious talk to them about it."
Sergeant Graham also said that if a child goes missing, it is critical that parents know the passwords to their electronics and social media accounts. She said this will help them as they investigate.
Here are some of the things parents should look for according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:
- Unaddressed or chronic medical/dental issues or STIs
- Close association with an overly controlling adult
- Has secret cell phones or apps
- In possession of bulk sexual paraphernalia (such as bulk condoms or lubricant)
- Unexplained access to large amounts of cash or new material goods
- References traveling to other cities or states while missing or lack of knowledge of their current whereabouts
- Chronically runs away from home (especially 3+ missing incidents)
- Unexplained absences from school
- Stops engaging in activities they previous enjoyed (such as athletics or clubs)
- Abruptly disconnects from family and friends
- Significant changes in behavior, including their online activity
For more information on Power Over Predators and things to look out for click here.
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