We miss being face-to-face with students! Unbound Fort Worth Youth Prevention Director, Sonya Brooks, is taking this time to share what it’s like to speak value into youth and empower them to stay safe from trafficking and exploitation.
During the presentation, I looked around the room and noticed a few girls biting their nails and looking extremely uncomfortable. The teens were learning about risk factors that might make youth more vulnerable to being trafficked.
The teens viewed a video of how easily one can be manipulated and tricked into an unhealthy relationship, thinking this will be their “happily ever after.” The reality is that these relationships can become filled with fear, rape, abuse, degradation, and pain.
After seeing the video, the room was silent.
The message hit home. When I opened discussion about the video, one of the girls who had looked so uncomfortable sat forward in her chair and asked a question. She wanted to know, “How do you know if the relationship is real?”
I responded, “People who really love you will never ask you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, and they will always respect your boundaries, and not try to set them for you.”
The teen sat back in her chair, looking as if the wind had been knocked out of her.
The school bell rang and all the teens hurriedly left. I spoke to the teacher regarding the interaction, as well as describing a few others who seemed impacted by the presentation. The teacher thanked me and said she would definitely share the information with the counselor.
At the end of the school day, the counselor approached me and shared that two young ladies came to her office and made suicide outcries. The counselor of course couldn’t reveal private details, but shared that she believed those teens felt comfortable opening up and sharing their pain as a result of the Human Trafficking Youth Prevention training. She was even more grateful, because the training took place the week before spring break.
These are potential opportunities we miss when the lights go dark in schools. Our youth prevention education program helps teens realize they are not alone! The program creates a safe place for teens to make outcries, not just related to human trafficking, but in other areas of pain, as well.
Many of our children are enduring these times at home, alone. And for those who are at risk, they might feel even more isolated. Let’s pay special attention to what is going on with our kids. Look, talk, listen, and love. Our youth deserve it!
Director of Youth Prevention
Unbound Fort Worth