MORGAN NICK FOUNDATION: LOVE ALWAYS HOPES (Part 4: Runway Children Are Usually Conned to Human Sex Trafficking)

84bb6c451724b920729bf7213ef3efabToo often the term “Runaway Child” is viewed negatively upon the child. Too many adults may perceive the runaway as a child who just cause problems. That is a major problem that has to be stopped, according to Genevie Strickland, Case Manager/Director of Education for the Morgan Nick Foundation.

“It’s a real problem we see in society that a ‘runaway’ usually has a negative connotation,” she said. “What we really want to get across to people is that, yes, a child may have runaway, but what we usually see is the reason they runaway has something to do with what they did on the internet. Which means that often times it is a predator that has lured that child away under false pretenses.”

That can include juveniles who are also victims of Sextortion.

“Maybe they’ve been Sextorted and they’re scared to death and don’t know how to get out of it,” Strickland said. “Maybe they think they can get out of it by meeting [the blackmailer].”

According to the International Labor Organization, there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands in the United States. Human trafficking victims have been identified in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in all 50 states, and in Washington, D.C. (

“The average age of a victim of human sex trafficking is 12,” Strickland said. “On average within 3 days after a child becomes a runaway, they are sexually assaulted in some way and over 5,000 runways a year in the U.S. are killed.”

The next time a runaway child is reported, please don’t be dismissive. Strickland said regardless of what reason a child has runaway from home, “they are still a child.”

Here are Runaway Prevention Tips For Parents provided by the Morgan Nick Foundation:

  • Pay Attention – Listen when your children are talking with you. Don’t just nod your head while you’re watching television, reading the paper, or using your computer. Don’t just pretend to listen to them. Kids know the difference!
  • Give Respect - Acknowledge and support your child’s struggle to grow to maturity. Understand Your Child - Try to sympathize with what your kids are going through. Look at life – at least occasionally – from their point of view. Remember that when you were their age, your ideas seemed to make sense to you.
  • Don’t Lecture -- Everyone hates to be lectured, especially teenagers. We all respond more favorably to clear information and direction, when we know that the questions we ask will be answered and respected.
  • Don’t Label - Useless labels will only confuse the real issues that you wish to address.
  • Discuss Feelings - Talk about what it feels like to be a parent. Share with your child the things you need from him. Encourage him to talk about his feelings, too. When parents share their feelings, children know it’s safe to share their own.
  • Create Responsibility - Give your child choices, not orders. Help her to understand the consequences of her actions. When punishments need to be administered, try asking her what she thinks would be appropriate. Make sure the punishment fits the "crime" and is consistent with other actions you’ve taken.
  • Administer Positive Praise - Describe your child’s positive and negative behavior and how it

affects others. Be specific and give praise to reward good behavior. Positive behavior acknowledged is positive behavior repeated. Try to praise your child than you criticize.

  • Stop Hassling - Asking too many questions often shuts off information. Give your child the opportunity to volunteer her thoughts and feelings, while you show a sincere interest, without probing.
  • Don’t Always Give The Answers - You want your children to be able to find their own answers

or solutions to problems. You can help this by not giving them the answers all the time. Instead, discuss options. Play "what if" to help them develop problem-solving skills.

  • Use Team Work - Work together with your child to lay out the problems and find mutually agreeable solutions


For more information and safety tips, visit

Runaway Prevention Tips For Parents