According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are 1.6 million runaway children each year and many of them are at risk to get exploited and trafficked.
Most of these kids do not come from stable family homes, of course not, having a loving family decreases the risk of running away. Those kids who run have often lived in foster care. Foster care is in a crisis. Those homes don´t get enough money from the state and struggle to take care of the increasing numbers of children who are in need of stability.
Many children who run away from foster care are not even reported missing. While some are found murdered or died from a drug overdose, many are sold into sex slavery.
Indianapolis recently published the last year’s numbers of trafficked children.
Most of them are girls ( 80% ), most of them are white Americans ( 60% ) and most of them are young, some victims are as young as 7.
The Salvation Army, who works to help survivors of human trafficking, says people should always look for signs of suspected children being trafficked. If a situation looks suspicious it´s better to call the police than to walk away believing the gut feeling was wrong.
Trust your gut, approach the child, call the police, offer your help. It´s the responsibility of the states to work on better laws and better security to save people from being trafficked but it is our responsibility to reach out when we see someone in need, someone as helpless as a child.