(CNS illustration/Todd Habiger, The Leaven)

Children today face new dangers from rapid changes in technology and society. To help parents, caregivers and everyone to safeguard children and their families, CatholicPhilly.com presents “Children at Risk,” a new series of articles and resources with our partner Catholic News Service to inform and help build a culture of child protection.

Recent articles:

Safe Haven Sunday set to protect families from porn’s dangers
A new program launching March 2-3 in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia aims to help individuals and families avoid suffering from pornography, which wreaks havoc on the brain of the user and threatens the family.

Inside CatholicPhilly.com: A safe haven from pornography
Archbishop Charles Chaput discusses a new initiative to protect families from pornography, and shares the Catholic faith’s call to mercy and healing for those struggling with sexual addiction.

Survivor: Saints give solace in coping with effects of child sex abuse
A woman raised Jewish and abused as a kindergartener found in Catholic spirituality an aid to coping with the terrible things that can mutilate the human psyche. Now a Catholic, she knows the spiritual power of redemptive suffering and the value of tears.

Survivor: ‘Jesus is light that shows us way’ to stop sexual exploitation
“Child abuse is my childhood,” said a woman who recounted years of being prostituted by her father. Today she leads a nonprofit helping to end exploitation. “Freeing people from slavery is what we do.”

Internet, online porn seen as enabling sexual exploitation of children
In a recent report on the role of technology in sex trafficking based on interviews with 260 survivors, Vanessa Bouche, a political science professor at Texas Christian University, found the internet facilitated prostitution, through online ads, in 75 percent of the cases.

Vigilance by parents and their children called key to safe internet use
The best way to protect your children is to actually engage with them in accessing things online: offer to play the games they like, ask them to show you what platforms they use, discuss being respectful online and never responding to sexual questions or requests for pictures.

Child sex abuse called ‘a serious and pervasive’ issue in U.S. society
Understanding the plague of sexual abuse in this country means going beyond the immediate headlines and understanding what experts are saying about this scourge. It also means looking not only at the Catholic Church but at all institutions and societal structures where abuse can take place.

Advocacy centers help abuse victims tell their story, regain trust, heal
Over the last 30 years, the network of children’s advocacy centers has emerged as one of the nation’s most comprehensive responses to sexual violence against children.

Victim assistance coordinators comfort in a behind-the-scenes ministry
Whether the call is from someone who is angry, embarrassed, unsure of what to do or needs a friendly ear, diocesan and eparchial victim assistance coordinators are the face of the church’s response to victims of sexual abuse by a church worker — clergy or otherwise.

Mother tells how daughter became victim of sex trafficking, lost her life
Yvonne Ambrose experienced a mother’s nightmare: Her daughter Desiree, age 16, was found dead in a garage on Christmas Eve 2016. She had been a happy “A” student before the internet exposed her to a sexual exploiter, then to prostitution and finally to the man who killed her and left her to die alone in the Chicago cold.

Wounded warriors are HEROs combating ‘epidemic’ of child pornography
After losing both legs in Afghanistan, Justin Gaertner found a new mission as a “human exploitation rescue operative,” or HERO, with the Department of Homeland Security, pursuing predators who collect and trade child pornography on the internet.

To ignore trafficking is to be complicit in the crime, pope says
Modern slavery “is not something from other times,” Pope Francis said Feb. 8, an international day against human trafficking. Religious and lay volunteers know “the painful reality” and complexity of trafficking.

Trafficking statistics don’t reveal extent of modern slavery
Whether it be child labor, illegal adoptions, forced marriage, illegally obtained organs, sex trafficking, child soldiers or labor exploitation, the trafficking of men, women and children affects every country of the world.

Catholic group joins suit over federal detention of immigrant youth
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network has joined in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the more than 10,000 children currently being held by the Trump administration in detention centers across the country.

Victims of child sex abuse vulnerable to being exploited in sex trade
A tragic, but consistent, finding in research on prostitution is the frequent correlation between childhood sexual assault and exploitation in the commercial sex trade.

Resources for parents and caregivers

A call to heal our sexual brokenness
Jarring statistics on sexual violence, pornography and abortion suggest society is in dire need of chastity. Gina Christian offers a five-point “sexual examen” to help us together regain this vital virtue.

Office for Child and Youth Protection — Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Understanding the risks to children, identifying ways to protect them and strengthening communication in families — especially how to talk about difficult topics such as sexual violence — are highlights of this package of tools for families.

Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal
More on child protection efforts, victim assistance, safe environment training and more from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Child safety links — United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Find information from federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations, both religious and secular.

More on Child and Youth Protection from the USCCB