Zian Mahfuz – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – The LRHS United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) club held an anti sex trafficking seminar after school Tuesday.

The club collaborated up with Selah Freedom, an anti-sex trafficking organization that raises awareness, educates and trains others about the horrors of sex trafficking, while advocating for teen prevention, outreach, and safe housing.

The speaker for this event was Chloe Vega, a victim of sexual assault. She explained the characteristics a person who might be involved in sex trafficking.

Sex traffickers may show the attributes of:

  • Using drugs
  • Avoiding school, work, and other events
  • Distant attitude
  • Depressive behavior

In the speech, Vega mentioned many topics important to high school aged students.

She said love could be dangerous to everyone, especially teens. They are brainwashed into thinking that they should give anything to their partner, which is not true.

For example, sexting is a huge issue for teen nowadays. If your partner has explicit photos of you, then they can blackmail you to do anything they want. Teens would agree to favors for their partner to prevent the photos be leaked to family or friends.

Vega said the LGBTQ+ community and runaways are the most vulnerable to sex trafficking. They feel rejection from their family and friends, leading them leave home. Running away seems better than staying in their own home.

When they are on the streets, they are in need of basic accommodations such as clothing, food, money, and shelter. Sex trafficking seems to be the only option to get these necessities.

“We had a great turnout. Vega was very informative about the risks and what it’s like to be a sex trafficker. It was a great experience,” said UNICEF historian Mary Eschmann.

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