Human trafficking is affecting youth in every state in the U.S.
The Anti-Trafficking movement is new to the United States. We know sexual exploitation has been happening for quite some time, but we are just seeing the actual movement gain traction – laws are being passed, the media is paying attention, and some services are beginning to open their doors.
Trainings in your community are the foundation upon which a solid movement can build. There is a lot of noise and sensationalism in the anti-trafficking movement, in part due to its newness, and therefore, the lack of empirical data. The more people we educate with realistic, survivor led trainings, the more problem solvers in the community we can work with.
Trainings are also imperative to keeping our youth safe. Traffickers are brilliant strategists, and many of them have been working for years protecting their craft. They know how to identify a young person who is struggling for any reason. Some traffickers present as normal, even kind. They patiently pull their potential victim in, making promises & isolating the youth. Before a young person sees there is something wrong, it is often too late. Other traffickers present as violent from the start, kidnapping their potential victim and terrifying them into not asking for help. With better knowledge of these and other potential scenarios, youth are better equipped to identify a trafficking situation. With education, they will know where to turn to get help.
Trainings for those who work with youth professionally. Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is now a mandated report in California. The passage of Senate Bill 855 changed the way identified and suspected cases are to be handled. All professional mandated reporters should receive training to understand what to look for, how the mandate works, and most importantly, to support any client who is experiencing CSEC, or is high risk.
Tools go beyond the classroom. Trainings are a great place to start, but many adults and youth wish to continue to build their knowledge base, outside of the classroom. I have developed a suite of tools to help with everything from engaging youth, improved trauma literacy (including trauma bonding), exercises to help youth explore the health of their relationships as well as wealth of other resources. The ‘trafficking toolbox’ is one of my passions, and I continue to build, improve and customize it on a regular basis.
Consulting with a survivor is highly recommended for anyone interested in better understanding human trafficking. There are a lot of assumptions, myths and misinformation about sex trafficking out in the world, and brave survivor stories are where one can start to better understand the issue.
Consulting with service providers is an essential part of the work. There are many wonderful people and organizations that want to help people who are still trapped, or are attempting to rebuild their lives. In order to meet the needs of victim/survivors, hiring a survivor to consult is highly recommended.
Consulting with those who have been affected by trafficking can bring synergy to the healing process. I often work one-on-one with folks working to re-enter society. It is one of the most challenging, beautiful and humbling of my experiences. Having the resource of someone who has walked through the plethora of challenges presented as one tries to find healing can be a great addition to other professionals and services.
Although I am always happy to help, I am just one person, and only have my own experience. I am happy to connect you with my network of survivors in order to find the perfect fit for your needs.
I have developed and trained many different curriculums for youth of all ages, in many different settings including schools, community centers, and juvenile halls. We learn about the strategies exploiters use when trying to victimize, as well as what to do if there is ever a need for help. I bring adult coloring books and fidget toys, in order to diffuse energy when learning about such a tough subject. Snacks are provided, and youth are welcome to ask any and all questions.
I also work one-on-one with youth who have experienced trafficking, both in and out of juvenile halls. Learning from other survivors who understand can be incredibly helpful when a victim/survivor is working to live the life they want.
Technology has always been a passion of mine, and there is no doubt, we need all the help we can get to educate, empower and protect our youth. I am honored to have partnered with Tony Molumby, a registered nurse and trafficking ally. Stay tuned as we start to unveil our projects, using technology to fight trafficking!