YOUTH RESOURCES

This page is intended for youth ages 12 and up. For younger children, please see our main resources page here.

Thank you for being here. You can be a part of the fight to change our culture. Inform yourself, share your knowledge and make an impact on those around you. If you have any questions, please reach out.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Vulnerabilities

A vulnerability is something about you that makes you unique. Whether it’s lived experience, where you’re from or how you interact with the world, vulnerabilities make us who we are. They can be a powerful strength when you understand them but exploiters often pick on vulnerabilities to trick you into trusting them or doing something. Take your power back by identifying yours and owning them. There is no reason to feel shame or to hide parts of yourself. So if anyone ever tries to make you feel bad about whatever it is you think isn’t “normal,” take a step back.

Grooming

What does grooming look like? Identifying Building Trust Filling Needs Isolation Exploitation

Identifying

Exploiters are experts at identifying vulnerabilities. Easy targets are those with low confidence, lack of parental supervision, isolation, or previous trauma.

Building Trust

The exploiter will start a relationship to learn more about their target and uncover additional vulnerabilities. This phase frequently looks like “love-bombing” (excessive praise, gifts, attention) and is like the “get to know you” part of a relationship. This part of grooming feels great to the victim, and often deep bonds are formed here.

Filling Needs

Once the exploiter has identified what their victim needs (stable housing, money, a friend, a significant other, a parental figure, etc.) they will begin to fulfill that need. A big reason they will do this is so that the victim becomes dependent on them.

Isolation

Eventually, the exploiter will try to isolate their victim from any support systems they may have, such as parents or friends. Sometimes they will take small situations, like a fight with a friend, and blow it up into a big deal to turn their victim against that person.

Exploitation

Finally, the exploiter will eventually cross healthy boundaries and begin to exploit their victim. By the time this happens, there are often intense trauma bonds developed. Sometimes they also have information, photos, or other things to hold against their victim to force them to comply.

Consent

Understanding consent is vital in reducing the risk of exploitation or trafficking. Consent is a freely given, enthusiastic YES. An absence of saying yes is NOT consent. Talking someone into saying yes is NOT consent. Consent is also something that can be given and then taken away, you are allowed to change your mind about giving consent. Consent should be given in every situation involving your body. Whether it’s a simple hug or kiss, or if it’s something more serious like sex. Consent is everything.

Sextortion

Sextortion is the legal term for blackmail involving sexual content. The perpetrator demands sexual favors, money, or other benefits under the threat of sharing intimate or sexually explicit material or information.

Reach out if this is happening to you or someone you know. There’s no judgment, no shame, only help.

  • Stop communicating with that individual.

  • Record or save any evidence.

  • Report to local or federal law enforcement. You are not the one breaking the law, the person blackmailing you is committing a felony punishable by up to $250,000 and/or 10 years in prison.

      • FBI Tips/1-800-CALL-FBI – select all other crimes 
      • Cyber Tipline – select online enticement or solicitation of child pornography
  • Get help. You are not alone. Talk about and process what you’re experiencing, whether in person or through a helpline.

  • More details here

Healthy Relationships

Relationships are complex, do you know what makes them healthy or unhealthy?

Healthy Relationships

Un-Healthy Relationships

Read more from One Love about Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

The first step toward having healthy relationships is learning to recognize the difference between unhealthy and healthy behavior.
Read More

Red flags are small signs that something may be wrong in a relationship.

When you see multiple warning signs, stop or slow down. Ask someone you trust for an outside opinion, do some research, try having an honest conversation with your partner and see if they’re willing to talk about it.

Whatever you do, value yourself and trust your gut. A feeling doesn’t need an explanation.

Can you spot the red flags in these video?

Boundaries

Personal boundaries are simply the lines we draw for ourselves in terms of our level of comfort around others

These boundaries may have to do with:

  • Physical contact (not feeling comfortable hugging a person you’ve just met)

  • Verbal interactions (not wanting a friend or family member to speak down to you)

  • Our own personal space (choosing to not have others in your home when you aren’t there)

These boundaries typically fall into a few specific categories:

  • Emotional (protecting our own emotional well-being)

  • Physical (protecting our physical space)

  • Sexual (protecting our needs and safety sexually)

  • Workplace (protecting our ability to do our work without interference or drama)

  • Material (protecting our personal belongings)

  • Time (protecting the use, and misuse, of our time)

Click here for more information and tips for how to set your own boundaries

Safety Planning

Safety planning is about brainstorming ways to stay safe that may also help reduce the risk of future harm. It can include planning for a future crisis, considering your options, and making decisions about your next steps. Practice solving problems and making choices now for when you need them later.

Examples

  • What would you do if a stranger compliments you online?
  • What would you do if someone shares a nude picture of you without your permission?
  • What would you do if someone threatened you?
  • What would you do if you found yourself stuck somewhere you didn’t want to be?
  • What would you do if someone you trust makes you feel uncomfortable?
  • What would YOU do?

Online safety

Taking, sharing or possessing any explicit image of a minor, including oneself, is classified as child sexual abuse material and can carry criminal penalties up to a felony.

Pornography aka Sexual Abuse Material is often shown to youth by exploiters as a method of desensitization and carries some risk. 1) 97% of porn features victims of human trafficking. 2) These materials are incredibly addictive for the brain and are very difficult to quit. 3) Violence and objectification, the majority of sexual abuse material features violent acts (generally toward a feminine individual), does not demonstrate consent, and dehumanizes individuals. None of which are healthy or ok.

Protect yourself and your information, if you don’t know them in real life, don’t share your address, school name or mascot, teachers, bus route, daily patterns, pets, face or anything that can be traced back to you.

Many games and apps have chat or messaging features and are used by exploiters to talk to youth. They may use grooming to build trust and gain information about you. Don’t trust strangers, be careful with your personal information, watch out for red flags, and report when something feels weird.

Definitions

Personal boundaries are simply the lines we draw for ourselves in terms of our level of comfort around others. These boundaries may have to do with physical contact, verbal interactions or personal space and privacy.

The practice of persuading someone to do something by using threats, pressure, blackmail, or intimidation.

Sexual abuse of a child (under the age of 18) by another person in return for a payment in money, goods, or services paid to the child or to one or more third parties. CSEC includes child sexual abuse material, trafficking in children for sexual purposes, child sex tourism, and child marriage when payment is exchanged.

There are three main considerations in judging whether or not a sexual act is consensual or is a crime. Both people are 1) old enough to consent, 2) have the capacity to consent (sober, ability to process what’s going on), and 3) agreed to sexual contact.

To make insensitive or nonreactive to, to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli that formerly induced it.

Describing or representing sexual activity in a graphic fashion.

A person who selfishly uses other people in an unfair and cruel way.

Taking advantage of someone for personal benefit or gain.

Physical restraint, beatings, rape, confinement, forced drug use.

Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain, false promises, lying, tricking.

To prepare or be ready for a specific purpose. A tactic used by perpetrators to prepare individuals for exploitation.

  • Labor Trafficking: Labor for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery induced through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. 
  • Sex Trafficking: A commercial sex act induced through the use of force, fraud, or coercion in return for a payment in money, goods, or services, paid to one or more third parties. In cases of trafficking of children for sexual purposes, force, fraud, or coercion do not need to be present.

Another name for a trafficker. A criminal who is associated with usually exerts control over and lives off the earnings of one or more human trafficking victims.

When a person forces, threatens, and/or manipulates another person into sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part (sexual organ, finger, etc.) or an object. Sex acts between same-sex individuals can also be regarded as sexual intercourse. Rape is a crime that is motivated by power and control. Individuals are capable of controlling themselves sexually and can stop at any time without medical concerns.

The way in which two or more people are connected, or the state of being connected.

Explicit images or videos of an individual, shared or distributed without their consent, typically by a former sexual partner.

Sharing of explicit images, videos, or messages via text.

A serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, money, etc.

Images or videos created with the intent to arouse.

Unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and groping.

Sex between a minor who is 13-15 years old and a person three or more years older, or a minor who is under 13 and a person who is two or more years older. A person does not need to be forced or threatened to be considered rape–even if a minor says they consented, the person they had sex with is guilty of statutory rape.

Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Don’t Contribute to the Problem

  • Pornography – Consuming pornography helps fuel the demand for commercial sex and exploits victims.

  • Sensationalism – Glorifying pimp-culture can desensitize people to the issue and hurts the anti-trafficking movement as a whole.

  • Victim Blaming – Is when someone knowingly or unknowingly makes a comment that shifts the onus or blame to the victim rather than the perpetrator. This is extremely common in abuse cases of all types and is a huge problem. Victim blaming ultimately leads to fewer victims feeling safe to come forward and disclose for fear of retaliation, bullying, or not being believed. When a victim doesn’t come forward they may not get access to the help they need and the perpetrators may get away with their crimes.

Share good info

  • Most memes with huge numbers about trafficking are probably wrong. The truth is we don’t know how many people are involved in this kind of exploitation but it is happening everywhere.

  • Memes or posts that show scary images of people tied up or with their mouths covered can give the wrong impression. Most victims are people you see every day. If we share those scary images, we won’t be looking for the red flags in our neighbors, classmates, and friends.

  • Check out Uprising’s Facebook, Instagram, or Resources (link to main resource page) for some of the sources we trust.

More Ways to Help…

Educate yourself

Find out how...

#Not a Number – Email, call or text Uprising to go through a 5 session prevention training. It’s better with friends!

Join the Youth Committee

Home/School/Clubs or Groups

Start a conversation...

Start a conversation with those around you. Yeah, trafficking and all this stuff can be hard to bring up to anyone but if more people are aware and informed, the harder it will be to get away with. It can be as easy as “Hey, I learned something today.”

Fundraise

Help us raise money...

Non-profit organizations don’t always have consistent income. It’s incredibly helpful to help raise donations for an organization with a history of good money management and survivor based programming.

WHERE TO LEARN MORE

Whatever you’re experiencing, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are so many wonderful people and organizations in the world who only want to help. Double check your sources or talk to someone who’s a trained professional to figure out what’s best for you.

National hotlines for youth with trained professionals to help you with whatever you’re experiencing.

  • One Love
    • Empowering young people with the tools and resources they need to see the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  • NetSmartz
    • NetSmartz provides age-appropriate videos and activities to help teach children to be safer online with the goal of helping children to become more aware of potential online risks and empowering them to help prevent victimization by making safer choices on- and offline. 
    • For teens
    • For younger kids
  • Fight the New Drug
    • Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.
  • Survivors of Sexual Abuse Material
    • Recovering from child sexual exploitation can be a challenging road, and it can often feel like you are navigating it alone. NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) knows that feelings of isolation, fear, and worry can make seeking resources a difficult process. There is an army of professionals at NCMEC and other organizations who may be able to help you.  We want you to know that your needs matter and this page was created so you can take action.
  • Love is Respect.org
    • For exploring healthy relationships, consent, setting boundaries, and healthy LGBTQ questions.
  • The Trevor Project 
    • The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.
  • Dating Matters
    • Dating Maters focuses on teaching 11-14 year olds healthy relationship skills before they start dating and reducing behaviors that increase the risk for dating violence, like substance abuse and sexual risk-taking.
  • Teen Talk
    • Teen Talk believes it’s important to give information on sex, love, and relationships so that you can make informed decisions and live your best life.

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted”

- Christine Caine

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