Event addresses dangers of social media and human trafficking

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ASHLAND - The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition (CMSHTC) and the Boone County Sherriff’s Department co-presented about the dangers of human trafficking on social media to parents at Southern Boone County High School on Thursday night.

Chris Felmlee, Superintendent of Southern Boone Country R-I School District, said parents need to work with their children to use technology safely.

“Don’t be afraid to look at your child’s phone. Sit down with your child and use this time as an opportunity to educate them on as far as what good choice are and what bad choices are,” he said.

Felmlee also said parents being involved in technology choices students are making is critical for making good choices.

“Sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world,” said Nanette Ward, a volunteer presenter with the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition. “It’s going to be with us for a while, and it's definitely going to become more relevant on people’s radar soon.”

Glen Sapp is a bus driver for the Southern Boone County School District and said he has a unique view of students using technology.

“I see a lot of what the parents don’t. I think this is about identifying who is at risk, and it’s about protecting the kids from what they don’t think is dangerous but is,” Sapp said.

This meeting was one part of the Southern Boone County School District’s plan to educate students on the potential risks of human trafficking on social media. The district plans to talk to administrators and students in the upcoming weeks.