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Abolition NC helps with sex trafficking education in Guilford County Schools

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. --  Abolition NC has expanded from  a small prayer group to a nonprofit status organization helping educate the community about sex trafficking and helping victims and survivors.

“Abolition NC is a local support group to the anti-human trafficking effort. And we really like to come along and collaborate with other partners. We like to provide resources, so that could be financial resources or in this situation supplies for schools, supplies for survivors, help support them, and we also do prayer and fundraising,” board member Camber Weller said.

One of the goals of the organization is to also provide education to the youth of the community who may be targeted for this crime.

In April, board members and volunteers presented to Guilford County Schools a DVD of the documentary entitled “Chosen.” The video shared the dangers, signs and experiences from sex trafficking survivors and law enforcement.

“The video that  we donated to the public schools talks about two girls that  had older boyfriends that wooed them and told them how beautiful  they were and gave them gifts and then lured them into prostitution. Because they were in love, they were willing to take that next step,” explained board member Jennifer Uhlenberg. “So one thing that we talk about to our kids is what does love look like and it does not look like exploitation. If someone asks you to do something that you’re not comfortable with you can say no.”

Starting this fall Guilford County Schools will be using the DVD and associated handout materials in the newly required education for North Carolina.

In October 2015, Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 279 in law; “an act amending the professional counselors act to modify educational qualification for the practice of counseling and to require local boards of education to address sex trafficking prevention an awareness.”

GCS Health Services Director Robin Bergeron-Nolan said the education will be included in all seventh-grade to 12-grade reproductive health and safety classes. The video will be shown to eighth to 12th-grade classes.

“This is  a new requirement, however, in  Guilford County Schools we actually  started moving in that direction last spring as we delivered reproductive health and safety classes, but with the support of Abolition NC, they’ve made available a DVD that we can use to  supplement what the classroom teachers will be doing which is going to be very helpful,” Bergeron-Nolan said.

“The schools are going to be training their school nurses on this issue so that if there is a problem that the nurses can be aware and how to report it,” Uhlenberg said.

Abolition NC relies totally on the donations and generosity of the public. The purchase of the Chosen DVD’s and curriculum from Shared Hope International is made possible by private dollars.

It is the hope of Abolition NC that a teen will recognize the signs to keep a friend or family member from becoming a victim.

“The only way you would not see this occurring in any of our cities is only if you were not looking for it. Unfortunately this is happening everywhere. And so we just need to be aware and prepared and help support our youth in this,” Weller said.

A representative from Shared International Hope sent the following statement about the impact of the DVD Chosen:

“Since it was released in May 2013, more than 6,000 copies are in circulation nationwide and have been shown to thousands of middle and high school aged youth.  It was produced as appropriate for audiences as young as age 13 years, because it isn’t about the violence and horror of what happens to a victim after they are trafficked, but instead tells the story of two girls (ages 13 & 18) who were from ‘good’ homes, both straight A students, athlete, cheerleader, involved in youth group, community volunteer…and still they were ‘chosen’ and manipulated.”

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, there have been 83 reported cases of trafficking in our state through the national hotline number; 65 of them pertaining to sex trafficking.

The National Hotline number is 1-888-373-7888. Tips and calls are routed to local law enforcement nationwide.