Child sexual exploitation is a profound challenge to our society and to countries around the globe. Given the scale and persistence of the problem, it is an issue that requires all parts of our community to contribute to the solution. And we are fortunate to live an era that recognizes the horrors of modern slavery and has taken initial steps to address it. However, there is one element of society that can have a disproportionate impact in bringing child sexual exploitation to an end, and that is men.
Where Is Dylan? is an innovative new tool for preventing the sex trafficking of children in the form of an educational comic book. It was launched last week in New York City by ECPAT-USA in partnership with the Administration for Children’s Services, CauseVision and JCCA. Fifteen thousand copies will be distributed to at-risk youth throughout the City.
The comic book focuses on the stories of two young people, a boy named Dylan and a girl named Ashley. It delivers a trafficking prevention message to them in a child-friendly format of pictures and simple vocabulary to capture their attention and make the material accessible to a wide range of reading levels. It is a compelling mechanism for the engagement of NYC youth with a tough topic, and in a way that is empowering, thoughtful and educational.
An educated child is the most practical and immediate deterrent to child sex trafficking. By providing preventive information in this format, the comic book can teach children and youth how to identify traffickers, identify recruitment techniques, and where they can get help. Most of the distribution will take place through New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. But copies are also available through ECPAT-USA. Contact ECPAT-USA at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about how to receive copies.