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Human Trafficking Prevention

Upcoming Events
Join us on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at Virginia Commonwealth University for the "Sex Trafficking of Minors in American Schools: Why Prevention Education is Necessary" Summit

The Prince William County Public Schools Human Trafficking Prevention initiative is funded through a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation.
 

 
Human trafficking is a problem not only throughout the United States, but throughout the world. As of December 31, 2015, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hotline has received more than 624 calls referencing 145 cases of human trafficking in Virginia. There have been numerous cases within Prince William County.

Prince William County Public Schools initiated a human trafficking prevention program in 2013 after receiving a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation. The program is currently presented in six high schools and one middle school within the School Division.

Following a 90-minute interactive lesson, students are able to privately identify themselves or friends as possible victims. The students who are identified meet privately with a social worker who assesses the individual needs of the student and utilizes community-based resources to get them the help that is needed to begin the healing process. These resources include medical care, mental health care and branding removal services, as needed. The School Division also works closely with the Prince William County Police Department as a project partner.

During the 2015-2016 school year, 115 students have come forward as a result of this program. Of those students, 50 have been identified as having been sexually assaulted, groomed or victims of trafficking. 

 
Student responses to lesson on teen trafficking:
"When I first heard this lesson on sex trafficking I was shocked and sad because I didn't know it happened where I lived. It is terrible to know that people my age get convinced into doing these things. Thanks to the lesson I know what I need to about sex trafficking. I know what to do if something like this happens to my friends, family or even myself."

"The presentation really helped me understand what sex trafficking is. It makes me very upset seeing that kids my age are being influenced to become a prostitute. This meeting helped me understand how kids are influenced and how I can see it coming."


Teacher responses:
"Your program is instrumental in stopping the process by making our students aware of the process and its warning signs. We would be honored if you came back next year."


Circle of 6 U PWCS



Prince William County Public Schools has recently released a safety app called Circle of 6 U PWCS. The safety app was developed by Tech 4 Good, LLC. It has been used by several colleges and universities throughout the nation; however, Prince William County Public Schools is the first K-12 public school division in the nation to utilize it. The School Division purchased the app using grant funds from the Potomac Health Foundation and had it customized to serve our local community.

This safety app allows the student to identify 6 people whom they trust. When they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, they can utilize the pre-programmed messages to request help. If they ask for someone to come pick them up, a GPS map is sent with the text message to the 6 identified individuals in the students’ circle. If they ask for an interruption, a message will be sent out asking for someone to call them and interrupt them. This gives them the opportunity to gracefully leave the situation that they are in. They can also open a text conversation with their circle if they simply need to talk. In addition, there are links to local resources and hotline numbers. This app is not intended to be used in an emergency and does not replace 911 services. It can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play store. This app is intended for ages 13+ or with parental permission. 

Circle of 6 U PWCS
 
Angella Alvernaz, Human Trafficking Prevention Specialist, 703.791.7363

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