Nonprofit to host sex trafficking prevention course for Wilmington middle schoolers

A Safe Place
(Photo: WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —A local nonprofit is planning to host a course teaching middle school girls how to identify signs of human trafficking.

A Safe Place is a non-profit organization with an emergency shelter for victims of sex trafficking.  The organization also hosts programs like awareness and action trainings, teaching community members about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

Planning to host its first minor prevention program, the “Empowered Me” course at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, A Safe Place executive director Dawn Ferrer stressed the importance of this course for middle school aged girls.

“The national average, the average age that a child enters the sex trade is 11 to 14. They’re not always identified at that age, in fact they’re usually identified until they’re a young adult.

Ferrer said the course will begin the third week in February and will be held two days a week, over the course of ten weeks.

The course will teach  middle school aged girls to look for red flags of human trafficking on social media platforms, and in-person.

“Being able to identify someone, –someone that actually might seem safe at first. Because what they do is, –they know what they like. They’ll know what their – what music they like, or sports teams or things like that, because they’ve been following them on social media.”

“Empowered Me” will also include sessions that will help boost the girls self-esteem and confidence, and teach them self-defense.

“We’re doing one session that’s called ‘Why Are We So Obsessed With Appearance’. So, we’re talking about body image, and the importance of learning to love ourselves from within. We’re also offering them a four-week self-defense class from a local jiu-jitsu studio. So they’ll actually learn their own personal safety to be able to actually defend themselves in the event that they are in a serious situation.”

Ferrer said she hopes to present A Safe Place’s “Empowered Me” program to the New Hanover County School Board, to have it implemented in other schools.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Top Stories

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