This must be taught in school — if not now, when?
I never took chemistry, and sixty years later, I don’t think I missed a thing. I didn’t see a career path for me in the sciences, so that was an easy choice to make. There was no danger in me missing that education.
Unfortunately, there is another subject that now does have tremendous repercussions if someone doesn’t understand it, and so far it’s not required learning — but should be. That’s the scourge of human trafficking of today’s youth.
Many would argue that human trafficking doesn’t occur in their neighborhood — but chances are that they are totally wrong — it can and does happen in even the most affluent neighborhoods. Plus, even if your child is not exposed to trafficking, they might just be the one who could spot trouble with one of their classmates and be able to prevent them from getting sucked into the system.
According to a recent article by Andrea Powell, founder and executive director of Karana Rising, published on Thompson Reuter Foundation News, the need for education and awareness has never been more necessary. She writes:
Surprise spread across the faces of the 6th grade students sitting in a presentation about human trafficking when my colleague, Liz Kimbel, shared that she is a survivor of child sex trafficking. In a city-wide effort together with the District of Columbia’s Office of Attorney General and members of the D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force we are working to ensure we reach students before traffickers do.
Every day, children are sold for sex or forced to work without pay in deplorable conditions. Just last week, a former D.C. police officer pled guilty to buying sex from two teenage girls and 14 minors were recovered during a three-day sting operation across the country in Los Angeles. The need for mandated prevention education on human trafficking in every state is apparent and survivors are at the forefront of this effort here in Washington, D.C.
In 2003, Liz was a 14-year-old teenage girl whose trafficker sold her blocks from her home. After months of being sold hotel to hotel to hundreds of men, she escaped with the help of law enforcement. She is now the director of programs at Karana Rising, a nonprofit we founded together that provides wellness and life skills to survivors of human trafficking, many of whom are teenage girls whose vulnerabilities led them into exploitation in much the same ways she fell prey.
“I wish I had known what was happening to me was called “human trafficking” because I would have known it was not my fault. I want anyone who is reading this, especially if you are a hurting kid like I was, to know that there are also real people who are here to help,” says Ashley when asked why she is a survivor leader and educator with Karana Rising.
Here’s one way it starts, with children who don’t know what to expect
When it comes time to talk with your child’s teachers, insist that human trafficking be addressed to both parents and children alike, so that no family has to go through the hurt like that experienced by today’s victims.
Originally published at Stop Human Trafficking Website.