Sex Trafficking: Americans say issue tops hate crime and terrorism

Opinium Research and American anti- sex trafficking charity Selah Freedom have partnered up to raise more awareness and understanding on the important issue of domestic sex trafficking in the US. The research looks at awareness and understanding of sex trafficking and showcases the need to educate children on how to prevent, protect, and detect the activities of sex traffickers.

Awareness of the issue is high across the US as half (53%) have said it is one of the most problematic crimes, and even more are aware it is occurring in their country (76%). Whilst awareness is high, a true and sufficient understanding is not. There are 2 out of 5 Americans who feel they have little to no knowledge about the issue.

Due to the lack of knowledge there are therefore some common misconceptions about sex trafficking. More than three quarters (76%) believe prostitution and sex trafficking are not be the same, whilst over half (58%) do not know there is a direct link between pornography and sex trafficking.

There is a clear need for improved levels of education nationally on the dangers and signs of sex trafficking, as two thirds mentioned they would not feel confident in their ability to detect someone may be a sex trafficker (68%). Similarly 63% do not think they would be able to detect that someone was a victim of sex traffic. The Key to help tackling this national issue is to provide the toolkit to raise awareness amongst young people which in turn would enhance their ability to protect themselves and others. Amongst American adults 78% think that children should receive such an education at just over ten years of age, with 90% saying they should be taught how to spot predatory behaviour (90%).

Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, CEO/Co-Founder of Selah Freedom & The Selah Way Foundation, adds “we are so grateful to Opinium for partnering with us in our mission to bring greater awareness to the public about sex trafficking. This survey will be one of several we hope to generate in 2020 to bring light into the darkness of sex trafficking and lead America in solutions to eradicate exploitation.”

James Endersby, CEO of Opinium said “We’re absolutely delighted to partner with America’s largest anti-sex trafficking service organisation, Selah Freedom. Our nationwide study exposes the high levels of misunderstanding around the issue of sex trafficking in America. There is a very clear need for vastly improved levels of education nationally on the dangers and signs of sex trafficking, as well as increased impetus to arm children with a toolkit to improve their awareness too, and to protect themselves and others”.

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