South Carolina teens are invited to attend a Youth Advocacy Summit on Human Trafficking in Columbia this week.
“We’re bringing them together to educate them on human trafficking to try to prevent the crime from happening to young people in our state,” SC Attorney General’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force coordinator Kathryn Moorehead said. “We’re also engaging them in conversations about internet safety.”
The event is free and open to students of all ages in South Carolina. Moorehead said the program has two missions: educate kids about the dangers of human trafficking to avoid being potential victims, and recognize if one of their peers or classmates may be a victim.
“Typically traffickers target kids between the ages of 12 and 15,” Moorehead said. “So this population is at risk of being targeted by human traffickers.
The day-long event is Wednesday at the Richland 2 Innovation Center in northeast Columbia’s Village at Sandhill. Lunch will be provided. Click here for more information or to register. All teens are invited but pre-registration is required.
The South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force has a Youth Advocacy subcommittee of teenagers but Moorehead said they want to establish a wider network in schools and communities statewide.
“We’re hoping to teach them how to both prevent themselves from becoming victims of human trafficking but also how to identify the victims in their community. We’re hoping they’ll return back their communities and educate their peers,” she said.
Kids may be able to notice the warning signs if a friend or classmate is being trafficked.
“They are in a position to recognize red flags with their peers,” Moorehead said. “Somebody who may be in their class in school who may be missing school, who may be having erratic behavior, who may be a victim of human trafficking… This is a great opportunity for young people from throughout South Carolina to gain knowledge about a critical issue impacting communities across the state.”