In 2013, the Member States of United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/192 designating July 30 as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The Resolution stated that the day was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
In recognition of the day, the Academy was pleased to present four seminars at Miami-Dade County Teen Court’s Annual Youth Legal Education Summit at St. Thomas University School of Law. The Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) established the County’s first Teen Court in 1998. For the last 20 years, the Program serves youth and contributes to the enhancement of the community with a mission to advocate and create opportunities for youth to develop into responsible citizens.
Over 100 teens were educated on human trafficking as part of the Summit on July 29 and 30, 2019. Liza Smoker, Esq., Managing Director of the Human Trafficking Academy, and Laura Cusack, Human Trafficking Education and Prevention Coordinator of Place of Hope, taught four respective sessions over the course of two days at St. Thomas University. The format encouraged open dialogue with the students who enthusiastically participated. The teens spoke candidly about the commercial sexual exploitation they observe in Miami-Dade County as well as vulnerabilities that might be used to exploit their peers.
“Human trafficking of our youth often starts online. Our goal for these sessions is to teach the students about online safety and human trafficking, as well as empower them with the knowledge to protect themselves from exploitation and report to trusted adults,” said Smoker. “Many students have seen the schemes firsthand or know someone that has been exploited. Youth today deal with dangers online that we never would have imagined, and we want to equip them to recognize the signs and make smart choices.” During the sessions, students were provided with online safety material developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
To access free resources and presentations to educate youth about online safety from NCMEC visit: https://www.missingkids.org/NetSmartz.
To learn more about World Day Against Trafficking in Persons visit: https://www.unodc.org/endht/en/index.html?lf=1&lng=en.
To read more about Teen Court and the Miami-Dade County Economic Advocacy Trust visit: www.MiamiDade.gov/EconomicAdvocacyTrust.