Teens and sex trafficking education and awareness workshop for social work and foster care professionals

Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry, involving 100,000 children in the United States. Children in care commonly experience emotional impacts due to neglect, abuse, multiple placements and caregivers, school disruptions, among many other issues. Attachment disorders are quite commonly underlying causes of emotional and behavioral problems for these children. Because of their intense need for survival and protection, these children may become attached to adults who abuse or threaten them. A lack of options for safety and survival often compel vulnerable youth, like youth in care, become involved in the street economy. In general, traffickers target those who are most vulnerable, because they are easier to control. Many teens recruited by pimps know they are trading an oppressive situation in a shelter, group home, or foster family for a pimp who might prove violent, abusive, or exploitative. This 4-hour workshop included speakers and a panel discussion for social workers and foster care professionals in Oakland California. Presenters and panel discussion participants include the director of education from Love Never Fails Us, the executive director of Misssey Organization that works with victims and co-founder and survivor of sex trafficking from Bridget’s Dream who collaboratively planned the content and structure of the workshop with the student facilitating the seminar. Social work professionals and service providers determined the workshop was highly beneficial to them in supporting existing and future clients.