The 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report from the US Department of State has been released. This year their study focused on prevention and how communities can proactively address human trafficking. The Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, in part stating:
“Proactive community-driven measures strengthen our ability to protect our most vulnerable and weaken a criminal’s ability to infiltrate, recruit, and exploit. I have experienced firsthand that individuals closest to a problem are often the best resource to solving it, which is why the Department prioritizes equipping and empowering front-line civil society leaders.”
To read the full report, you can find it online at https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2018/
At A.C.T. United we have known the impact of frontline grassroots prevention, its how we started, and its what we continue to do!
Here are words from ACT United Founder and Lead Training Facilitator, Jessica Bartholomew:
If you have attended a training or been in a conversation with me, you have most likely heard me passionately say:
“We will not end human trafficking by responding to it, we will end human trafficking by getting ahead of it in prevention!”
A.C.T. United has been in the fight to end human trafficking, specifically the sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States, in a model of prevention since we began in 2015. Prevention work has had it’s hurdles. But I am neither discouraged nor stopped by hurdles! As a police officer, I got to show the importance and impact of my work through number of arrests, amount of convictions, search warrants conducted, evidence collected, guns recovered, drugs seized, and victims of crime helped. Statistics are a language everyone can understand and justify the need and support for an effort. People want to put their resources where it has the greatest impact. Me too! But how do you measure prevention? How do I measure how many teens will not accept a friend request from a stranger with bad intentions on social media, or say no to attending a house party that was a set up for sexual assault or trafficking, or make the right choice at a critical moment in life because they saw the signs I talked about? How many times, per each teen, in their life time, will their decisions be altered, keeping them from harm, as a result of hearing our Youth Aware exploitation prevention program at school or church? How many kids will come forward to their parents, teachers, or police about sexual abuse, assault, or trafficking when I leave the presentation? I will never know and be able to measure the impact of NO harm, NO trafficking, NO sextortion, NO violence, and NO injury happening to a young person because of prevention education. What I do know is prevention works! I know the students who tell us about their own situations or were able to help a sibling or friend being exploited as a result of our prevention program. I know the youth in our program who design and lead awareness projects spreading prevention education to others in their school or community. I know survivors who say if they would have known the signs of predator grooming and an abusive relationship maybe things would have been different for them. I also know that if you have ever seen the effects of sex trafficking, sextortion, or child pornography on a valuable young life, you will also be compelled to get ahead of this devastation in prevention. Every 35 year old trafficker was once a 6 year old boy or girl, every adult who buys a child for sex slavery had people in their path before that final decision, and every child deserves for us to invest in prevention that protects them from harm, promotes their health, and encourages them to tell someone if they need help. If you want to have the greatest impact on kids, teens, families, and our communities, I encourage you to partner with us, or others, who are working in prevention! This is the greatest investment!
To join us in the proactive fight against the human trafficking of children and teens, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request:
- Awareness and prevention training for your staff, group, business
- To bring Youth Aware teen prevention education into your schools, church, or youth organization
- A list of current volunteer needs
- To join our Prayer Team and receive the monthly prayer and praise report
You can also…
- Keep us fighting on the frontlines with your financial support by going to http://www.actunited.org and click on donate!
- Follow us for current news, safety information, upcoming events, resources, and online training videos at:
- You Tube/ACT United or copy link www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnYhGEK_iCE