By Shane Rabinowitz
A group of eager and outspoken students from The Friends School of Baltimore are stepping up to fight for young people who are trapped in the business of sex trafficking.
The Polaris Project estimates that there are up to 100,000 children involved in the sex trafficking business in the United States. These kids lose their childhood innocence as young as six or seven in an industry that brings in an estimated 32 billion dollars.
Molly Doyle, a Friends School faculty member, says she felt compelled to enlighten the Upper School students about the facts of sex trafficking, despite being told that the students weren't mature enough to handle such a topic. The students proved they not only understood the problem, but also the need to work to raise awareness in the hopes of helping trafficking victims.
Breaking boundaries has paid off. Samantha Enokian, class of 2013, and others approached Doyle after her presentation on sex trafficking and suggested they start a Turnaround Club. Turnaround focuses on fundraising for victims and spreading awareness of how young teens can be lured into this life. Turnaround has raised hundreds of dollars through bake sales and a "Powderpuff" Football game, where women are the players and the men referee and coach.
The involvement of Friends School students did not end with the Turnaround club. One of the school's English classes spent a semester thoroughly researching and campaigning for sex trafficking victims. The class is called Peace, Nonviolence, and Social Justice or PNSJ. Class members were divided into two groups, the "awareness" that group focused on using social media, such as Twitter, to spread factual information about sex trafficking. The "fundraising" group focused on earning money to help buy "Freedom Packs" for victims. The Freedom Packs hold comfortable clothing and new phones for newly rescued victims. Although a simple gift, it can make all of the difference in comforting the survivors during this hard transition.
You can attend PNSJ's last fundraising and awareness campaign, a benefit concert at The Friends School of Baltimore on March 28th, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. You can also follow the class on Twitter @HTBeProactive.