How Keeping Track of your Children’s Shoes Can Save Their Life: Protecting Your Children From Human Trafficking

By Ana Borden

According to a report issued by the Department of Children & Family Services earlier this year, as well as according to Homeland Security officials, human trafficking cases are on a considerable rise in New Orleans.

As most parents, keeping our children safe and away from harm’s way is one of our top priorities.

In our household, we freely talk about keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. I also take it one step further by being truthful with our children that, unfortunately, not everyone has the best intentions.

I often share tips while using everyday outings as teaching moments and focus on how to keep themselves and each other safe. This includes frankly discussing signs and situations to look out for, and, most importantly, how to REACT when seeing and encountering certain scenarios.

I personally think it is never too young to teach these lessons and make them aware of their surroundings.

It is one trip to one of our favorite places that opened my eyes to another detail. An organization was sharing pamphlets on keeping children safe and, obviously, families with more than two children caught their attention immediately. They made a beeline to speak to us.

Thankfully my husband shares the same attention to detail as I and asked me afterwards, “Did you realize how she kept looking at their shoes?”

This prompted me to research what underlying suggestions she was making.

Clothing is easy to cover and be hidden away with a shirt, jacket, cap or behind sunglasses, but the shoes are a different story; they require a specific size and comfort at any age.

In situations where a person is being taken against their will, the perpetrator’s goal is to move quickly and changing shoes or looking for victims with a specific shoe size or gender is not in their favor.

So, how can taking note of your child’s shoes save their lives?

Next time you photograph your child include their shoes, and take note of the shoes they are wearing. Encourage unique even colorful pairs as keeping track of this detail can make a difference, especially when out in public.

What are other things you do to keep your children safe?

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