Tulsa Conference Warns Of Dangers Of Human Trafficking
TULSA, Oklahoma - Trafficking is no longer just about guns and drugs - now it's about humans, too.
A dealer can sell a drug once but can sell a person over and over again.
Thursday, a conference focused on two types of trafficking – labor, where people overseas are promised the American dream but when they get here, find anything but, and sex trafficking, where young girls and boys are lured by the promise of love and riches but get turned out into prostitution.
Trafficking has moved from the street corner to the internet. Traffickers no longer need to hang out where kids congregate, traffickers can go right into a child's home through social media, apps and even games that seem harmless but have a chat function.
"They can pose as someone younger to communicate, get on their level and relate to them and put their hooks in and get them out of the house," said Jason Weis with the Demand Project.
He said the apps Kik and Whisper are the worst, and he advises parents to delete those off their kids' phones and tablets.
He said cutting off your child's data plan is not the answer either.
"Parents need to understand apps don't need data plans, they just need Wi-Fi," Weis said.
They're arresting traffickers, but also want to prevent kids from being targets.
He said it's not the movie version of someone kidnapping teens off the streets and selling them overseas, the reality is kids start talking to someone they think is a friend and it unravels from there.
The organizers of the conference hope people will now go forward and come up with solutions.
Everyday citizens, they say, can get involved, whether it's to help stop the predators or to help the victims or to get the laws changed.