Keeping Kids Safe ... Understanding Sexual Exploitation & Technology 101 for parents
Laura Sutherland, Safe Harbor regional navigator and program manager of Victim Services, will give an overview on sex trafficking and sexual exploitation from the perspective of Safe Harbor. Sexual exploitation refers to the exchange of sex for something of value. Sutherland’s presentation addresses how youth who have been exploited or trafficked are considered victims and are not offenders themselves. She’ll talk about youth at risk and how they can be groomed into exploitation through various apps available online.
The Safe Harbor Southeast Minnesota office has served approximately 400 clients who have experienced exploitation or who are at high risk for exploitation.
“We offer a wide variety of services that are specific to our clients, from basic needs such as food and housing to counseling and legal assistance,” Sutherland said. “These are people often beginning a journey of healing and we meet them where they’re at.”
Sutherland trains law enforcement, emergency room staff and other key personnel who are positioned to watch for sexual exploitation. She serves southeast Minnesota as a regional navigator, helping those who have been affected find safety and hope.
Complementing Sutherland’s presentation, Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik will offer real life examples of what he and his staff see on a regular basis as it relates to sexual exploitation and internet crimes.
“Internet crime happens here, whether people realize it or not,” he says. “Installing monitoring software doesn’t guarantee your child will be safe online. Your time, attention, and active communication about what your child is doing online are the best tools to protect them.”
Sandvik will share tech tips to help attendees learn how to monitor their child’s technology use and provide handouts with helpful resources and suggestions on how to proactively protect kids from online danger.
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