We believe the best people to protect children from pimps and traffickers are children themselves. It’s what guides our steps towards providing prevention education in schools. It’s what motivates us to empower children with practical ways to prevent sexual exploitation in their lives and in the lives of their friends.
Recently, Love146 Training & Outreach Coordinator Nicole von Oy travelled to speak to students about what trafficking looks like in their community.
In the middle of the session, Nicole asked the students to pair up randomly and asked if they could answer questions about their partner — If your partner went to a concert, who would be performing? Where would your partner go on vacation? What would your partner spend money on if they won the lottery?
The students protested, saying that there’s no way they could possibly know this much about random classmates, but Nicole persisted. The students gave it a shot and (to their surprise) started answering correctly more often than not.
After several rounds of questions, Nicole used the opportunity to interject — You don’t think you’re a good judge of people, but you can trust your gut. If something feels wrong, if someone gives you a bad feeling, trust that and go get help.
You could almost hear the switches being flipped in the minds of the students. Some even started to share about people they knew or circumstances they’d been in that felt wrong. Nicole encouraged them to trust their gut next time.
Dr. Stephanie Goins, Love146’s VP of Programs, said that this kind of encouragement is essential:
“The key is we have to challenge the way people think and, at the same, communicate that kids have an internal voice that can be their guide. I love that Nicole empowers kids to use that gift that’s already inside of them.”
Give monthly and help us empower children to trust themselves in situations of potential exploitation.