Child sex trafficking is an issue that affects children in all communities, both in the United States and abroad. In order to prevent children from being trafficked in the first place, we need a coordinated response from local communities, dedicated advocates, and leaders in government. At the Annual Conference of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), we had the opportunity to talk to those leaders in government about their role in preventing child sex trafficking.
Partnering with the NFWL to Prevent Human Trafficking
SuEllen Fried, lifetime Board Member of Prevent Child Abuse America, opened the presentation by giving some history of our organization. From our humble beginnings in a kitchen in Kansas to now having a presence in all 50 states, SuEllen explained how Prevent Child Abuse America was uniquely positioned to be a resource to members of the NFWL as they seek to not only address human trafficking in their states, but work to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Our Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Dr. Bart Klika, spoke to the members of the NFWL about different levels of prevention, explaining the importance of and differences between primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. Dr. Klika explained that there is no clearly defined scope of the problem of human trafficking, but that this problem doesn’t mean we’re clueless about how to combat and prevent this issue.
Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey is a national leader on the issue of child sex trafficking and we partnered with our New Jersey chapter for our presentation to the NFWL. Rush Russell, Executive Director of PCA-NJ, spoke to legislators about the success that programs like “My Life My Choice” have had in teaching young women about respectful relationships, how to recognize potentially abusive situations, and in connecting at-risk youth with older mentors who have had similar life experiences.
Dan Duffy, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, closed off the presentation by talking with the members of the NFWL about their shared experiences as legislators. A former State Senator, Dan shared some insights into common roadblocks in state government and the importance of forming coalitions with other members, local non-profits, and advocates in the community. This holistic response, he said, is critical to achieving our goal of a world in which no child is ever abused or trafficked.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the NFWL. These women are dedicated to our mission and to the needs of their individual communities. We look forward to continuing this important work with these women as we move into 2018!