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There’s a good chance it’s affecting youth you know.By addressing myths and clarifying the issues, educators have unique opportunities to make a difference.

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Reliable estimates of the number of youth involved do not exist. Over 80% of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in this country are U. Data on the average age at which children first become involved is difficult to pin down.They can take practical steps to prevent trafficking and help young people protect themselves and their peers.According to the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), human sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is a minor.Remember that 9 in 10 teens go online daily, and 1 in 4 say they are online “almost constantly.” Sexualized selfies and other images are frequently shared.Teens often comment on one another’s posts with flattering remarks that are sexualized in nature (“nice body,” “you’re hot,” “what a babe”).Today, it’s not unusual for someone a teen doesn’t know to praise a photo, encourage more explicit sharing and even suggest an in-person meeting.

One recent report found that while most of the trafficking victims they surveyed originally met their trafficker in person, younger victims recruited more recently were significantly more likely to have met their trafficker online.

While all of these images constitute forms of sex trafficking, they barely begin to tell the story.

And as these disturbing pictures run through our minds, few of us add to our list the children and teens in our own communities.

Youth are recruited into sex trafficking in a range of ways—an older “friend” they meet at a party, a “boyfriend” who promises them a modeling or movie career, a family member or even, as some of ETR’s research has demonstrated, a same-age romantic partner.

They may also be recruited by a Facebook connection, an Instagram follower or someone they meet in an online chat room.

Her work focuses largely on the context of adolescent romantic relationships and understanding the impact of healthy and unhealthy behaviors on adolescents’ health and well-being.