I just got off the phone with my fellow red-headed abolitionist Julie Taylor Shematz, who is head of Beauty From Ashes. When Julie talks about child trafficking, I listen -- because she was trafficked herself.
Today she heads a strategic outreach and counseling program for women and girls all over the country who are trying to break free from the shackles of trafficking.
So here's the challenge that Julie and I discussed...
...and where we need your help:
- Julie was asked to talk to a group of children next month about child trafficking, but the program directors don't want her to mention sex trafficking. Some of the girls are as young as 3, but others are as old as 11.
- Julie met with a group of high school kids who put together a riveting drama about human trafficking--but most high schools won't let them present it because of the topic.
- Meanwhile I can't find a school or community center in the US that will test the Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking. Schools all over the world are begging for it--but no takers in the US. I suspect it's because (1) they don't think there's a child trafficking problem here and/or (2) they don't want to deal with "offensive" subjects.
So it's okay for kids to watch borderline pornographic dancing on network TV, listen to R-rated music and more...but it's not okay to warn them about sex traffickers recruiting them right now in their middle schools and malls?
We have a national crisis in the US. The average age of kids entering prostitution in the US is between 11 and 14. That's the average age. Each year 100,000 minors are trafficked in the US--in your towns and ours.
We know that awareness leads to prevention, intervention, and restoration.
So Julie and I decided to throw this open to you.
"We need strategic and creative ideas," Julie explains. "This is a problem that we as abolitionists, especially educators, are facing. We all recognize the need to deliver this message to children and teens, but how do we do this other than the Internet? And how do we do it without sensationalizing or sanitizing it?"
Would you give us your ideas?
1. How can Julie talk to young kids about trafficking without mentioning sex?
2. What should that high school drama group do?
3. How can Born2Fly find schools and groups in the US to test our awareness program?
Tell us what you've done. Share your ideas with us. Or just vent if you want. Let us know in a comment below or here. And thanks.