How parents can recognize if their child is being groomed for sex trafficking

Sex trafficking an increasing burden.

According to an arrest affidavit, a young girl said Alvis Clay Cleveland, 55, sexually assaulted her multiple times.

She was only 14 at the time when she told officers he would text her girl and do favors, like buy her food.

Records suggest he told the victim she would need to wash dishes to pay her back after a while, she told officials she agreed and this is when he came up behind her and allegedly sexually assaulted her.

After the assault, officials said Cleveland paid her money.

This particular technique Cleveland allegedly used is not new.

New figures obtained by us from Freedom of Information requests to every police force in England and Wales reveal:

  • a total of 5,161 crimes of sexual communication with a child recorded in 18 months
  • almost a 50% increase in offence in offences recorded in latest six months compared to same period in previous year
  • a 200% rise in recorded instances in the use of Instagram to target and abuse children over the same time period.

All police forces in England and Wales were asked for the number of recorded offences under s.15A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 recorded. There was also information about the age and gender of the victim, and for the methods of communication used in connection with recorded offences. Crimes sometimes go unreported or undetected, and therefore police-recorded offences will not fully reflect the scale of the issue.

Most cases nearly all begin with what they call “grooming.”

“There’s numerous amount of ways that grooming can look like,” said Britney Aranda, a human trafficking advocate and case manager for the Rape Crisis Center. “The whole point is that for them, they’ll attempt to identify your vulnerability to later exploit it.”

Aranda said parents should be on the lookout for a few techniques offenders are known to use.

“The boyfriend technique is basically when somebody attempts to ‘woo’ you,” Aranda said. “There’s something called the bottom girl, or we can just say it as I call it befriending, right? So that is also a form of grooming where it could be a female it’s an example it can be a female who is now a recruiter for the trafficker.”

Aranda said offenders are often looking to groom young children from 12 to 17. She also said parents need to dig deep to spot something wrong.

“They’ll start trying to build that relationship, gain their trust, gain their dependency, and a lot of the times they will buy them stuff,” Aranda said. “You do want to ask questions like who paid for that? Who is this person?”

Parents should also keep a close eye on their kids’ social media accounts.

Check our Blueprint

How Every Busy Parent Struggling With The Balance Between Work And Being A Good Parent Can Be Confident That Your Teen Is Happy And Online Safe (Without Making It An AWKWARD And UNCOMFY Experience For Your Teen!)


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