Edgewood ISD parents learn how to combat human trafficking

San Antonio is hub for human trafficking

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Parents and children at Edgewood Independent School District are learning how to combat human trafficking.

"It really does start with the parent really trying to communicate with their child and really knowing what's going on," parent Lisa Owens said.

The Alamo City is a hub for human trafficking. Saul Castellanos, CEO of Freedom Youth Project Foundation, said  for every international victim there are 10 more in San Antonio.

"It's very scary not just for myself, but other parents. I think them coming out and educating on this will open up a lot of eyes," parent Angela Houghton said.

Castellanos said a child's bedroom is one of the most dangerous places, because children can connect with people without the watchful eyes of mom and dad.

"Social media makes it possible for you to reach out to young people in any ZIP code and any social economic factor. It's not just a certain side of town. It's what child takes my friend request, takes my ad, connects with me on their chat app," Castellanos said.

That's why Lisa Owen closely monitors what her 11-year-old daughter uses on her phone or computer.

"I actually do not allow her to have any kind of social media apps at all. So she doesn't have a Facebook, doesn't have a Snapchat or Instagram. (She) is not allowed to have any of that. I do monitor her phone. Anything that gets downloaded to her phone gets automatically downloaded to mine," Owens said.

Castellanos said traffickers use three methods to get a child's attention. They include fake jobs, romance and friendship.

"When you take away the element of surprise, you teach them to recognize them if it starts to happen to them," Castellanos said.

Human trafficking victims are often reported as missing. It's a topic KSAT has covered with the San Antonio Police Department. For more information on what parents should know about their kids and their kids friend in the event that they disappear, click here.

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