Exploitation is not a common word, which is why we are using it! Too many standard terms used to describe harm to children have lost their weight, and the sobering reality of what they mean. Therefore, as an organization, we focus on the phrase “child exploitation” because it encompasses the many realities causing severe harm to children. So, we are going to discuss the definition of child exploitation. According to the Britannica dictionary the definition of exploit is “to get value or use from (something); to use (someone or something) in a way that helps you unfairly”.
We Define Child Exploitation As
“Using a Child for Another Person’s Gain or Benefit“
This definition is crucial because it creates a baseline definition for us to observe actions that could give us a glimpse into more complex realities. Exploitation objectifies human beings, and that objectification allows perpetrators of all types to justify their abusive and harmful behavior. Any level of child exploitation is a warning sign to pay attention to. These justified choices to exploit a child (even in minor situations) produce fertile ground for other more severe forms of harm. The first step of prevention and early detection is to understand that exploitation of any kind is serious.
Most Common Types of Exploitation
For clarity, we will talk about the most common types of exploitation. It is easy to assume that certain forms of exploitation are more severe than others. However, studies have proven that all types of exploitation respond similarly to children’s brain, emotional, and psychological development.
Commonalities of Child Exploitation
We see exploitation take many different forms. We have seen parents use their children as pawns in custody battles, and the horrors of human trafficking. Though these levels of exploitation are incredibly vast, there are many commonalities to them. The reality is this, the children in both situations are exploited. An adult’s willingness to harm a child for their gain is also the same. Minor exploitation can easily evolve into more severe forms of abuse because of the perpetrator’s mindset. A mindset that is willing to harm a child for their personal gain, a willingness to objectify a child.
The more you sit back and look at all the dark realities of child exploitation, the more you can see the connections. Though there are many different types of exploitation, there is a consistent commonality between them—the behavior patterns of perpetrators. This is an important distinction because most training and prevention programs focus on techniques, often at a micro level. However, techniques and methods change frequently. What has remained consistent over time has been “patterns of behavior.” This is why 10.18 has constructed our training programs to focus on detecting patterns of behavior both in victims and perpetrators.
Join the Movement to PREVENT child Exploitation!
There is always a starting point for every great movement—a place where you become aware of a need and decide to be the solution. Join the mass movement of adults around the nation who are gaining the knowledge & skills needed to protect children!