Our children are being bombarded with messaging from “hooking up” with strangers being fun to publications like Teen Vogue which tells them that working as a sex worker (prostitute) is empowering work. We have "Recruiters" on many school campuses telling kids “You are already doing it anyway, you might as well get paid for it.” We need an "Anti Human Trafficking" Club on every school campus to ongoingly raise awareness to protect our children. If a potential victim is being groomed by a Trafficker, they are not going to tell their parents if they think their parents won't approve. However, they will tell their best friend which is why teens and college students are on the "front lines" if this war against the cruel exploitation of vulnerable people.
Any minor who is being "pimped out" to sex for money, by definition is a victim of Human Trafficking. However, one of the biggest problems with trying to do an awareness campaign at schools or any other place youth hang out is that they do not identify themselves as Human Trafficking victims. They consider themselves to be "girlfriends" or "boyfriends" of the person who is pimping them out. For that reason, we designed the poster to the left. You can download it here.
Anyone who "pimps" out a minor is guilty of Human Trafficking and could receive a sentence of as long as 15 years in prison. This would include an 18 year old guy who is "pimping out" his 16 year old girlfriend. Teens and young adults do not realize how serious the consequences are for engaging in this crime as the traffickers tell them that since they are minors, very little will happen to them. Since a 35 year old guy can not go onto a school campus, they use 15, 16, 17 year old "recruiters" to "sell" girls and boys on having sex for money. Penalties for adult recruiters are the same as those for Human Traffickers which is 5, 10 or 15 years in prison! Minors who are recruiters are sent to juvenile hall. Discouraging teens from becoming "Recruiters" can go a long way to cut down on Human Trafficking in schools which is why we included the information at the bottom of the poster.
If you would like to do a presentation for teens, here is our powerpoint, the script for it and the handout. Here is the powerpoint in PDF format. Videos don't play in PDF format so you will need to go to You Tube to embed them. If need be, please change the pictures so it reflects the race of the teens in your audience so they are clear you are talking about them.
Two great resources for outlining how to set up an "Anti-Human Trafficking" school club are from CAST and another from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Netsmartz and FAAST have great tool kits with posters teens can post around their school. Teens can be great speakers and can use the presentation on this tab to go out and educate their peers. The school could also purchase the programs offered at The A21 Campaign and iEmpathize. All these presentations include great videos and provide examples of questions to ask to start a discussion, etc.
There are lots of fun things to do with teens and youth groups. You can do a poster contest. . Teens can go to malls and d0 "freeze frame" skits. They often go on interesting field trips to organizations that are working on this issue. Clubs can show some of the Netsmartz videos and discuss them. The ones entitled "Real Life Stories" are powerful. Teens can put out posters. One college put together a flyer for health professionals letting them know where they could get training and drove around and put them out at all the health clinics in the area. In the first two weeks, two victims were saved as a result of their efforts. There are many "sticker" campaigns in several states that teens can participate in, where stickers are put in bathrooms in areas where there are "Street Walkers" with the text for Polaris. (Be Free) Teens can volunteer with local organizations or do fundraisers to support organizations that are working with survivors. Many teen clubs have had t-shirts made with the name of their school on the back and on the front are the words "I am not for sale." Of course they can create social media posts and send them out.
On the demand side, over 90% of boys and 60% of girls over 15 are looking at porn. For the boys, porn creates fantasies that viewers believe only a prostitute can fulfill. Then they play games like Grand Theft Auto 5 which teaches them how to buy sex from a prostitute. These young boys are the next wave of buyers for sex trafficking. With girls viewing porn, it "grooms" them to be victims. It breaks down the normal barrier of self respect that women naturally have that protects them from being used by predatory men. The porn poster to the left educates teens as to the dangers of porn and lets them know where they can get help. You can find more posters and videos to discourage porn viewing at https://fightthenewdrug.org/ We recommend that you put up our anti-porn poster in your youth center or ask the boys and girls club near you to put it up. Many teens are addicted to porn, but there is so much shame related to this issue, they don't feel they can tell anyone. But getting a poster up, they can privately seek help. Below are great videos from Fight the New Drug that are appropriate for young people to view.
Parents have always been concerned that their children might become a victim of a child predator. As a result of kids being exposed to porn, the kids themselves have become the predators.. "London, March 4, 2013, (Life Site News.com) Pornography and depictions of sexuality have turned more than 4,500 British children-some of them as young as five - into sexual offenders, according to a UK-based child welfare charity." This stat is over a 3 year period and most likely refers to children molesting other people's kids. However, social workers will tell you that many victims are siblings. The U.S has six times the population of the United Kingdom and we need to be concerned with how violent porn has become. Linking the sex drive to violence is a lethal combination. "(Dangerous Access, 11/98) 11 year old Josh had been looking at graphic violent porn on the internet for 20 minutes immediately before stabbing 8 year old Maddie Clifton to death." Parents need to make sure all devices are blocked.
Check out this great video