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Half-term break: How to protect your child from sexual exploitation

By Winnie Onyando February 25th, 2024 2 min read

With the school term about to break for its first half, parents are gearing up to welcome their children back home.

As a parent, your role becomes even more critical during this time—to actively engage in your children’s lives and protect them from potential harm, particularly from the disturbing trend of sexual exploitation.

It is also good to note that perpetrators of sexual exploitation are those close to home, sometimes even within the trusted circles of the victims’ families.

This betrayal exacerbates the harm inflicted, leaving lasting scars on the victims and their families alike.

According to a report released by the National Syndemic Diseases Council, 1,499,514 cases of adolescent pregnancies were reported in the year 2023 alone.

To combat this crisis and safeguard children and adolescents from sexual exploitation, parents can implement the following proactive measures:

Foster a strong bond with your child

Many parents are blindsided by such occurrences due to a lack of communication and trust with their children.

Building a close relationship ensures that children have someone to confide in when faced with such threats.

Avoid co-sleeping arrangements between adolescent girls and boys

Despite space constraints or familial ties, sharing a bed can create opportunities for exploitation, especially when older siblings are involved.

Separate sleeping arrangements help mitigate such risks.

Provide comprehensive sex education

Many parents shy away from discussing sex with their children, relying solely on schools to impart this knowledge.

However, open and age-appropriate discussions about sexuality are crucial for empowering children to protect themselves.

Exercise caution when entrusting children to relatives or family friends

While familial bonds are often trusted, instances of abuse by relatives or family acquaintances underscore the importance of careful consideration before sending children into such environments.

Avoid allowing young adolescents to travel alone

Unaccompanied journeys expose children to predators who prey on their vulnerability. Whenever possible, accompany your children or ensure they travel with trusted companions.

Stay vigilant and educate children about recognizing and reporting inappropriate behavior

Equip children with the knowledge and confidence to identify potential threats and seek help when needed.

By implementing these measures and maintaining open communication, parents can play a vital role in protecting their children from the pervasive dangers of sexual exploitation.

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