How young is too young?
Human trafficking. That's an abstract concept in and of itself that is often difficult for adults to understand, but what about kids? Often dealing with explicit material that can be traumatizing, how young do you start teaching kids about slavery? Can they understand? Are we prepared for any kind of disclosures in our own communities? If they say that 2 out of every 3 girls experiences a sexually abusive/exploitative event before they're 18, and 1 out of every 3 boys likewise… our children are experiencing the thing we are fighting against but perhaps cannot put the words to it.
However, like teaching young ones about "good touch, bad touch", there are ways to introduce the concept of slavery in ways that are age-appropriate and gentle. Kids can learn about other kids in other countries who make their sneakers and don't get to play at all. Kids can learn that the food they eat is made by people who aren't allowed to leave their factories or fields.
If anything kids can understand… it's people being treated good or bad. You learn that Day #1 of Kindergarten. Introducing lifestyle changes in the formative years and WHY you are making those changes in your family or classroom, then children grow with the learning. Then, when age-appropriate, learning about children being sold in brothels is not so shocking… but more empowering in that younger generations are aware of what the CAN do as opposed to what they CAN'T.
Zach Hunter began Loose Change to Loosen Change when he was 15 after learning slavery was still alive. It enraged him. Simply by setting out pails to collect people's loose change, he started a wave of young people standing up for justice. He wrote his first book not long after called Be The Change. 17 or 18 years old now, Zach goes around the world telling people about slavery and what we all can do about it.
In 1995, a 12 year old by the name of Craig Kielburger read the story of a murdered boy found to be a victim of child labour. Again, another young soul was enraged. Along with 11 school friends, Craig began Free the Children, one of the biggest social justice movements working on behalf of children in the world. Over the years, FTC has developed a curriculum that can be used in young classrooms to empower children and youth to make an investment in our world. They learn that they don't have to wait until they're "grownup" to make a difference. Their voices are loud and clear RIGHT NOW! You can check out Craig's story, his "Me To We" style, and more at http://www.freethechildren.com .
Kids aren't too young to learn.
And together we can end slavery now.