Deseret News 18 Oct, 2020 18:45 am

A look inside QAnon, #SaveOurChildren and child trafficking

A look inside QAnon, #SaveOurChildren and child trafficking
While well-meaning individuals have jumped in to support the movement, anti-child trafficking advocates warn that #SaveOurChildren is not what it seems.

The hashtag has largely been used to spread misinformation that could distract from the real problem and make it harder for members of the public to identify actual victims of child trafficking, said Sarah Bendtsen, policy counsel for Shared Hope International, which is based in Vancouver, Washington, and strives to end child sex trafficking.” Children are victims of both labor and sex trafficking, but in the United States, child sex trafficking is more prevalent, said Lori Cohen, executive director of ECPAT USA, an anti-child trafficking organization based in Brooklyn, New York.To put it simply, child sex trafficking occurs whenever money is exchanged in return for the exploitation of a minor, even if the child is the one receiving the money, she said.The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that of the nearly 26,300 runaways reported to the center in 2019, 1 in 6 were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

The majority of child sex trafficking cases he sees in Utah involve kids ages 14-18, often economically vulnerable, who have been coerced into prostitution.For most of the children, there were no allegations of sex trafficking victimization; they were just at-risk kids, including some who had a warrant out for their arrest, Bendtsen said.

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