I recently interviewed Meredith Relph of Fredonia, Kansas in an effort to hear a small town mother’s point of view on the issue of sex trafficking in the United State. Relph is a journalist for the Wilson County Citizen in Fredonia and is knowledgeable of the topic of sex trafficking is also a mother. From a professional point of view as well as a mother’s our interview shed some light on the issues of trafficking as it is looked at in a small town and through her own eyes as well.
1. How many daughters do you have and how old are they? Two daughters, ages 18 & 12.
2. Do you think growing up how you did, meaning how you were raised, affected the way you raised your kids? Yes. My parents were a huge influence on my own eventual parenting decision. My peers’ parents were, too.
3. What elements of family do you believe to be crucial in order to foster a solid form of self-confidence in a young woman? Why those elements? Responsibility, confidence & perseverance. It is up to each of us to shape our lives. Success will not come without responsible decisions, confidence in one’s abilities and perseverance in rolling with life’s punches.
4. Do you think that family influence can combat the rising sex trade? I think a strong sense of family is lacking for many young people. This contributes to children’s lack of knowledge as well as their inability to look beyond their circumstances.
5. What have you done to ensure that your daughters will not become involved in prostitution/forced in to the sex trade? My daughters know that “sex” is not a random transaction, but something that is special between adults. Without being able to articulate exactly what I mean, I just know my girls would not fall into a situation like this. At the same time, I am aware that it does happen. I would hope they choose to live in such a way as to avoid any chance, as remote as possible, to be in a situation as terrible as trafficking.
6. Have you ever been in contact with someone involved with prostitution? I have numerous friends who worked as dancers (strippers) but do not know if they branched beyond legit dancing.
7. Have you ever published an article in your local newspaper having to do with the dangers of sex trafficking? Would you? Yes, I regularly publish releases from the attorney general about this.
8. What advise would you give parents of young girls to help make their daughters aware of the dangers surrounding the sex trade? Teach them about self worth and to be always vigilant as to someone’s ulterior motives.
9. Do you think the topic of sex trafficking/labor is understated in your community? Why? Possibly, because it’s a small town and people don’t think if could happen here.
10. Have you ever thought that your daughters might become involved with sex trafficking? No.
11. Do you feel safe in your community? What would an alternative community be that you would feel unsafe in? I do feel safe in my community. Big cities make me more defensive
12. How do you feel about the safety and education level of your community in regards to preparing young women within for the dangers of sex trafficking? I don’t know that it is addressed at all.