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Experts offer Internet safety tips for youth after luring cases discovered
Chandra Lye, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013 4:44PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, January 5, 2013 6:41PM MST
Internet and child safety experts are warning parents about online safety after two cases of human trafficking were discovered in Edmonton.
The executive director of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) told CTV News she saw some good news in the police arrests.
“Often it’s very hard to find the perpetrators and arrest them,” Kate Quinn said.
Quinn added that the problem was demand for underage sex.
“It’s very disturbing that we have in Edmonton men who demand sex from young women.”
She said she believed there needed to be an education campaign to teach people that it’s not okay to have sex with young women.
“We all have a role here.”
Police have said that in one of the cases another young woman was used to lure an 18-year-old victim.
Quinn said pimps and traffickers have been using this tactic for a long time.
“They know the way to young people is through other young people and through social media,” she explained.
“They also know if it’s the young person that gets caught, they get off.”
She said that youth needed to be cautious while making contact with others online.
“If you’re worried about something, find a safe adult,” she advised.
Social media expert Walter Schwabe from Fusedlogic said it comes down to education.
“One of the first things that I would recommend is that parents educate themselves as to the social networks that their kids are on – Facebook or other social networks.”
He said everyone should preview the privacy policies of these sites.
“I think the next thing you need to do is to educate your kids.
“You need to have open communication with your children as to what is possible on Facebook in terms of who they could possibly meet and what information should and shouldn’t be shared.
“Parents should really talk to their kids about not sharing any information whatsoever,” Schwabe added.
“I think you have to approach everybody as a stranger online because you can’t verify exactly who they are in every instance.”
He also said people should not rely on social media sites to secure private information.
“They are in a business to make money and they are going to do that a number of ways.”
However, Schwabe said there were applications parents could get that would help monitor what their kids are doing online.
“One great application is called MinorMonitor and it’s free. It allows you to see and flag you and send you e-mail alerts when language that you don’t think is appropriate is being used on your children’s Facebook profile.”
Schwabe added that kids often get into trouble with links.
“Kids all the time get into trouble when they click links on Facebook or anywhere else on the Internet.
“What they should really do is stay away from clicking links that they don’t know or from people that they don’t know. “
Quinn added that teens need to remember that nothing is free.
“There’s no such thing as a free party or lots of gifts. There will be a payback time. You might be beaten or you might be forced to have sex with a whole bunch of men,” she warned.
She also said there was also a need for a safe haven for victims of sexual trafficking.
“When police find victims and young people being abused we need immediate access to safe houses.”
For more tips from Fusedlogic click here.
With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith