Age-appropriate training helps girls identify the threats, signs and risks of human trafficking
Girls Inc. of San Diego County announced it will collaborate with the PROTECT program (Prevention Organized To Educate Children on Trafficking), to deliver trafficking prevention training to 150 Girls Inc. participants this year. Girls Inc. of San Diego County will teach the PROTECT curriculum to girls ages 10 to 18, so they can identify trafficking warning signs and develop prevention and response techniques. The PROTECT curriculum is designed specifically to reduce the vulnerability of human trafficking and to educate children about its dangers.
Girls living in low-income households, or who have immigrant or refugee status, often experience family disruption that leaves them unsupervised. That, and living in high crime areas make under-served girls especially vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking. This describes the same community of girls that Girls Inc. of San Diego County serves each week in its mentor-based programs. By embedding the PROTECT curriculum into Girls Inc. leadership- and health-oriented programming, girls will learn to protect themselves from predators and recognize targeting signs.
“Girls Inc. of San Diego County already has strong relationships with girls who fall into the high-risk zone for human trafficking. Working as a community partner with PROTECT, we are in the unique position to help high-risk girls learn how to defend themselves from being victims of trafficking,” said Carla Vallone, President, Board of Directors, Girls Inc. of San Diego County. “Advocating for girls, and helping them advocate for themselves, is core to the Girls Inc. philosophy. Together, we can all take a strong stand against the exploitation of girls in our community.”
In the United States, there are up to 17,500 victims of human trafficking each year. According to San Diego Trafficking Prevention Collective, San Diego has the tenth highest rates of human trafficking reports in the nation with an estimated 8,000 annual incidents. Sex trafficking is an $810 million industry in San Diego, and the average age of a trafficked child is 15 years old.
The California State Human Trafficking Prevention and Training Act (AB 1227) requires California public schools to offer education and training on human trafficking identification and prevention in order to avert children from being exploited for labor or sex. As of January 2018, public school districts are required to implement human trafficking education in correlation with health education. The PROTECT curriculum meets these the AB 1227 standards.
As a community partner serving the girls who are most at risk, Girls Inc. of San Diego County program coordinators and facilitators completed the PROTECT teacher training in November. In this training, program leaders learned about human trafficking, the trauma that accompanies it and the red flags that indicate it. In turn, program facilitators will deliver the PROTECT curriculum to Girls Inc. participants at school sites in an all-girl environment supported by ongoing mentoring and discussions that help girls feel safe to share their personal experiences.
In addition to educating girls and training educators, Girls Inc. of San Diego County is committed to informing members, supporters and affiliates of its advocacy efforts and education. Girls participating in this semester’s “Leadership in Action” Girls Inc. program will also create a community awareness campaign to educate their peers about the signs of human trafficking and prevention techniques.
For more information about the risks of human trafficking download Girls Inc. of San Diego County’s issues brief at https://girlsincsd.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Trafficking-Brief.pdf. To learn more about how to get involved with Girls Inc. of San Diego to advocate and protect underserved girls, please visit www.girlsincsd.org/volunteer
About the PROTECT Curriculum
PROTECT, Prevention Organized To Educate Children on Trafficking, is a human trafficking prevention education program that aligns with the requirements of California’s comprehensive sexual health education. PROTECT uses a three-pronged approach to fighting human trafficking, focusing on training county stake-holders, educators and students. The program was developed in 2015 through a coalition of three nonprofits (3Strands Global Foundation, Love Never Fails and Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives), in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General for the State of California, the California Department of Education, Cisco Systems and the Social Research at Sacramento State University. To learn more about the PROTECT program, visit www.PROTECTnow.org.