According to the U.S. Department of Education, the children at risk are not just high school students – pimps and traffickers are known to prey on victims as young as 9. Traffickers may target minor victims through social media websites, telephone chat-lines, after-school programs, at shopping malls, and bus depots, in clubs, or through friends or acquaintances who recruit students.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited children estimates 1 out of 6 runaways end up in human trafficking. According to TBI, we have 600-900 runaways in Tennessee each month, making the state average of 125 children being trafficked each month and over 1,500 per year in our own backyard.
Our research shows that students are already acutely aware of the sex industry, but not from the position of its inherent dangers. We take time to focus on the effects of sex trafficking on the victim and how to avoid becoming a victim. Through video, humor, survivor stories, and interactive dialogue, students are encouraged to evaluate their surroundings, their relationships, and their acquaintances for signs of sex trafficking. They are then empowered with resources to help them effectively say something.
No. Students will be educated in a way that does not expose them to inappropriate images or speech. Students will hear some difficult facts, see images that are related to slavery and hear from real life survivors of human trafficking.
Our Prevent & Protect assembly is designed to be culturally relevant and sensitive. It is our hope that each student leaves the assembly feeling compelled to open discussions with their peers, say something to adults when questionable things occur and be aware of this horrific tragedy facing the world.