National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By By Lt. Col. John Keeler, 104th Fighter Wing executive officer
  • 104th Fighter Wing

It’s unthinkable, but every year, thousands of children become victims of crimes—whether it’s through kidnappings, violent attacks, sexual abuse, or online predators. 


National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month is observed annually in January.  This crisis strains our community and our world. Sex trafficking occurs when someone uses force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or causes a minor to commit a commercial sex act.  Trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States and globally. 


Over the years, the Internet has drastically changed the way we interact with the world.  Over three-quarters of underage sex trafficking victims have been advertised or sold online.  Today, human traffickers are using the Internet as a way to target and exploit us, and more specifically, our unsuspecting and vulnerable children for their own personal financial gains.  This practice is easy, low risk, and profitable because of huge consumer demand.  The Internet offers threats of revealing too much family information, exposure to inappropriate material, cyber bullying, and online predators. 


Traffickers can use information that they find to seek out vulnerabilities to exploit.  Left unchecked, human trafficking will continue to flourish.  Recently, the FBI Boston Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force visited Hanscom Air Force Base to provide awareness, education, and tools to combat human trafficking and to help us better protect our children.  Below are some basic measures that we can do to ensure internet safety among our children.


  • Monitor your children’s use of the Internet; keep your Internet computer in an open, common room of the house.

  • Tell your kids why it’s so important not to disclose personal information online.

  • Check your kids’ profiles and what they post online.

  • Read and follow the safety tips provided on the sites.

  • Report inappropriate activity to the website or law enforcement immediately.

  • Explain to your kids that once images are posted online they lose control of them and can never get them back.

  • Only allow your kids to post photos or any type of personally identifying information on websites with your knowledge and consent.

  • Instruct your kids to use privacy settings to restrict access to profiles so only the individuals on their contact lists are able to view their profiles.

  • Remind kids to only add people they know in real life to their contact lists.

  • Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names or nicknames.

  • Talk to your kids about creating strong passwords.

  • Visit social networking websites with your kids, and exchange ideas about acceptable versus potentially risky websites.

  • Ask your kids about the people they are communicating with online.

  • Make it a rule with your kids that they can never give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent.

  • If you agree to a meeting between your child and someone they met online, talk to the parents/guardians of the other individual first and accompany your kids to the meeting in a public place.

  • Encourage your kids to consider whether a message is harmful, dangerous, hurtful, or rude before posting or sending it online, and teach your kids not to respond to any rude or harassing remarks or messages that make them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and to show you the messages instead.

  • Educate yourself on the websites, software, and apps that your child uses.

  • Don’t forget cell phones! They often have almost all the functionality of a computer.


    Combatting Human Trafficking In Person is everyone’s responsibility, and our Wing has a zero tolerance for anyone involved in these crimes against humanity.  I am your Wing POC for CTIP. 


    To report TIP, contact the Defense Inspector General Hotline online at or by calling 800-424-9098 OR the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.