STILLWATER — People may not be able to agree on much these days, but there are a few things we can all probably agree on. We get upset when bad things happen to children, for example.
We would be willing to make a sizable wager that everyone, or at least everyone we want to know, finds child sex trafficking horrifying and considers the death of any child to be a tragedy.
It’s admirable that so many people have become aware of the fact that children are all too vulnerable to harm and exploitation.
More people need to be concerned about it. As many people as possible should be concerned about it, in fact.
But we can care about multiple things at the same time.
The minds and hearts of humans are amazing things, and most people manage to balance an entire list of concerns throughout the day with relative ease.
So it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.
It is entirely possible for people to care deeply about protecting children while also caring about the challenges faced by people of color, the dangers posed by COVID-19 or any number of things.
But seeing the sudden proliferation of social media posts that make it sound like people have to make a choice, is troubling.
So is the hijacking of #SaveTheChildren by a shadowy online community dedicated to spreading bizarre conspiracy theories. The hashtag was once was used to support a legitimate organization that has been improving the lives of children around the world for a century.
It’s absurd to think that if people care about societal inequities or COVID-19 response, they don’t care about the exploitation of children.
Like for instance: “A Child in America is 66,667 times more likely to be sold to human traffickers than die of COVID-19. In addition your masks assist in them being transported undetected and unidentified to anyone.”
We don’t know if that’s true or not, but it got shared a lot.
Things like this are a smokescreen, being thrown out to take attention away from other, very real concerns and put the people advocating for them on the defensive. They are being used in a very cynical way to take advantage of the care we all have for children and advance someone else’s goals.
And that is just plain wrong.
So yes, absolutely, let’s do something about human trafficking in general, and child sex trafficking specifically. March, protest, donate, raise awareness.
People should be there for all of it until every child is safe.
But don’t let someone manipulate you into keeping other needs from being addressed as well.