THE RISKS IN OUR REGION
It’s hard to imagine that the global crime of human trafficking is happening across the state of Maryland and throughout the Eastern Shore. Major highways like I-95, Routes 40, 50, 301, and 13 all make transporting victims and meeting buyers easy. Maryland is an attractive destination for traffickers for several reasons including:
On the Mid-Shore, For All Seasons Rape Crisis Center has seen an uptick in trafficking victims through online sexual exploitation. Greater amounts of time online during the Covid epidemic and beyond have put youth at greater risk of being lured by online predators. These imposters often give the impression they are younger and romantically interested in the minor being targeted to earn their trust to gain illicit photographs or videos of the minor. Youth sometimes end up meeting up in-person with perpetrators they befriended online and this often leads to trafficking situations.
Parents and caregivers are highly encouraged to talk to their children about the risks of sharing personal information online and educate them on why they should not communicate with anyone they do not know, even if it appears to be another youth.
Parents must monitor their children’s use of all digital devices including laptops, tablets, desktop computers, gaming consoles, and smartphones. Traffickers tend to target marginalized and vulnerable individuals who may have experienced trauma or abuse, but any child can be at risk of being groomed by a predator.