Is there a grey area when it comes to child exploitation? According to the NSPCC, the most common kinds of child exploitation are labor, which accounts for 48 percent of child abuse and trafficking victims, and sexual exploitation, which accounts for 26%.
One might assume that when judging a possible child exploitation situation, it's easy to determine how and why such a child is in danger. However, a woman is defending an action which many people believe to be abusive.
Is this kid being put in harm's way?
Desmond Napoles is only 11 years old and he has caused quite the stir after it was reported that he danced at adult gay bars.
According to Daily Wire, Desmond danced in a sexually suggestive manner on stage at the bar while the audience handed him money.
Since that incident, many concerned people on social media have urged the authorities to investigate the family as they believed the boy was being exploited.
In an Instagram post, Desmond's mom revealed that due to the public uproar, she and her family have been investigated by the Child Protective Services (CPS) and they have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
She mentioned that due to the number of people who expressed concern for Desmond, also known as 'Drag Kid', their case made it all the way to the Governor's office. Authorities paid the family home several announced and unannounced visits, she said.
She defended her permission of Desmond's performance by insisting that they are only allowing the boy to do what he loves.
We are a loving and supporting family. Anyone who knows us or met us can attest to that.
In a Facebook post shared in January, the mom explained that even though Desmond did dance at gay bars, he is only allowed to stay backstage or on stage which, she noted, was not against the law.
She referred to the performance that caused the controversy saying that the boy only performed three numbers and the venue took measures to ensure the audience members were in good conduct.
How to protect kids from exploitation
It looks like Desmond's case is a matter of opinion, but, as parents and concerned humans, we should know how to protect children from exploitation. According to Parents Protect, here are some things you can do:
- Know the signs: Adults must recognize signs of exploitation in children such as skipping school, changes in appearance, and an increased interest in sexualized outfits.
- Talk to them: Always keep the lines of communication open. Encourage children to open up to you and always remind them of your support.
- Monitor their online life: Some children may be victims of online perpetrators. So take an interest in their online life. Ask them what they like to do and teach them about online safety.
You can also click here to see other signs of child abuse.
To understand and protect child victims, you should always be observant and encourage openness.