Success Stories


“I had one of the boys approach me later to ask if a certain “hypothetical” scenario was sex trafficking. I said that it would be considered trafficking, and he shared with me that it had happened several years ago to him and his sister. I was able to report this. (The trafficker is already in prison for life for other crimes.) He now has a name for what happened to him and can talk to his therapist about what happened.”


We ask people and organizations that registered to download Born2Fly, “Where did you learn about Born2Fly” — and many many times they say via NEST! So feel free to include that in your mention — we are very grateful for our partnership with NEST!




SEA, “Soledad Enrichment Action” services High risk Teenagers in our Charter School, with 15 educational sites, many situated in gang territories throughout the Los Angeles County. Many of our youth are involved in gangs and drugs, and have made poor decisions, thus being thrown out of their home schools because of behavior. They have called themselves the “throw-away kids”.

As SEA became aware of the gang involvement in Human Trafficking, we started to look for a program that would not only give our youth, parents, and staff information on Human Trafficking (the problem) but would focus on the empowerment of our youth and help them be part of the solution. This search took us to “the Empower Youth Program” created by IEmpathize. SEA has partnered with IEmpathize to inform, educate, prevent, and bring about solutions to this problem through our youth, parents and staff.

What I like most of this program is that it not only reaches the brain with facts but reaches the heart and emotions through its educational understanding on the personal push and pull factors in the lives of our youth, making them vulnerable to exploiters. It moves them from shame and blame to understanding and empathy.

Our SEA youth are now involved in creative Empathy projects. They will show case these activities at our 2015 SEA-YPM conference.

Thank you for creating this wonderful program.
Peace and gratitude
Sr. Ines Telles

SEA Director of YPM and PHP


Vanessa Williams is a 10 year old 1st generation Haitian –American girl. She is the eldest of three sisters. Vanessa attended two ARTREACH programs in the summer of 2014, once through her church and once through a summer program. As part of the ARTREACH program we not only inform the participants about human trafficking, but we strive to ignite creativity and empower the children to be leaders.

Vanessa is a reserved, shy little girl, quiet and keeps to herself. After attending the last session of ARTREACH, we saw visible changes in her demeanor. In October 2014 we invited Vanessa and some of our summer ARTREACH participants to attend our ribbon cutting ceremony for our new location at United Way. To our surprise, we saw Vanessa guiding a tour of attendees through our building. She was showing the different artwork and explaining her two projects. The attendees were delighted with her knowledge and pride in her work. Vanessa has since attended other public showing of the paintings and has been a peer educator.

Recently we heard that Vanessa was chosen to attend a 4 day conference in Washington DC through People to People Ambassadors October 2015. She mentioned her work with the ARTREACH program as part of her application.

We here at Human Trafficking Awareness Partnership are proud of Vanessa.


(Anecdotal Story from Holly’s House – A Child & Adult Victim Advocacy Center in Evansville, IL)

We had our Think First and Stay Safe display at the school’s open house. A 3rd grade boy came to the table with his brother who will be starting Kindergarten. The 3rd grade boy began talking all about when our presenter went to his school. While looking at the display board, he told his brother about the “lures.” He described several lures and told his brother why he needed to know about these tricks – so he can be safe. Our staff member shared, “I was floored by the details this little guy retained.” Their fathers said, “Wow, I didn’t know any of this, but I’m glad he does.”


I (Caleb Probst) was asked to come into a high school in Chicago to work with their 9th grade boys.  The school indicated that they were troubled by the behavior exhibited in the halls by some of the boys toward some of the girls, and thought the boys would benefit from going through our program.  At the start of the first day, I asked the boys to write down words they would use to describe “a prostitute.”  The majority of the responses were words like, “slut,” “hoe,” “THOT” (That Hoe Out There), “easy,” “nasty,” “dirty,” and “worthless.”  Many of these words were the same words that the administration reported hearing directed at the girls in the school.  At the end of the 4-session program, I asked the same question.  This time, however, the responses were words like, “abused,” “raped,” “alone,” “desperate,” “depressed,” and “victim.”

As these young men went through our 4-session program, they had an opportunity to examine the constructs of masculinity and think critically about how they influence their own decision making.  They also had a chance to consider how their behavior, and the behavior of their peers, can impact their community.  One student wrote, “I’ve learned that men treat women like crap, they use them as an object…  I know that this puts girls in danger of becoming a prostitute.”  He and his classmates began to see that objectifying women and degrading them with words like “slut” can have serious consequences.  When asked how girls end up in prostitution, many responded with “they had a traumatized life,” “they had a rough childhood,” or “[society says] they have less power.”

Now, not every girl who is objectified and degraded will end up being commercially sexually exploited, and these young men acknowledged that.  But as one student said, “we [never] know her story.”  At the end of the final session, I asked the young men if there was anything that they would do differently now, based on what they had learned during the program.  The two most common responses were “I will stop saying words like ‘thot’” and “I am going to respect women more.”

DECEPTIONS: Exposing the Lures of Child Sex Trafficking and Internet Dangers

This past year, AWARE was contracted to present its Deceptions: Exposing the Lures of Child Sex Trafficking and Internet Dangers to the Vancouver School District. They had been recently informed by the local police about the number of students in their school district that had or were being sexually exploited by local traffickers. I had met with this district a year prior hoping to generate awareness and a sense of urgency to educate young people about local trafficking. The reception was lukewarm at best. However, it wasn’t until this meeting with local police and having it confirmed by local law enforcement, that a call was made to my office. The district rep said, “we get it now…we would like to partner with AWARE so ALL of our 7th and 8th graders can receive the Deceptions program”.

The program has now reached thousands of students. As a presenter, we wonder at times if this program is “making a difference”. I can testify that 99.9% of the student comments that come in after a presentation affirm the need along with an expression of gratitude for giving them this valuable information. Preliminary evaluations implementing pre-post surveys also demonstrate a positive gain in knowledge and intent after the presentations.

I’ll always remember the 14 year old girl coming up to me after a presentation with tears in her eyes. She waited for the crowd of other students to leave before approaching me. She looked up to me and said “I want to thank you for coming to our school and sharing this program with us”. She went on to say “I was pulled into this (trafficking) last year and had horrible things happen to me. I’m only here because my parents and police fought  so hard to find and rescue me. Girls HAVE to know this is going on in our community…so thank you for taking the time to come to our school”. We are constantly hearing stories of young people being approached by strangers on the Internet, malls or on the streets of our city. Students now know what the “grooming” process looks like so they can recognize it when they are being set up or manipulated. We HAVE to prepare our students with the education and provide the support they need to be protected and AWARE of this horrific assault on our young people!

FAIR GIRLS: Tell Your Friends

We were teaching at a middle school with 7th and 8th graders. The students were loud and talkative, especially one girl, *Maya, who was about 11 years old. Maya continued to blame the victim in the Trip Uptown Story and she said “Some girls get raped because they are asking for it”. This type of backlash is nothing new; however, this time we were hearing it from a girl who was barely 80 lbs. and the only 6th grader in our class. The next day, at the end of module 4, Maya slipped us a note telling us she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was 6. We made a report with Maya and notified the counselor. Maya started seeing the school counselor regularly.


Cassata High School, Fort Worth, TX: Cassata student Leslie said, “I would like to thank the FDFI foundation for teaching me that slavery is still alive, and that human trafficking is a bad issue that needs to be addressed and conquered. I understand now why we now have modern day abolitionists to work on these problems.”

Benedictine Academy, Elizabeth, NJ: We absolutely loved your curriculum and plan on enhancing our work with your plan.  We had a meeting with our Principal and will be meeting this week with all the staff regarding the implementation of the educational material.

Prologue Early High School, Chicago, IL (100 Days to Freedom project): Dear colleagues at the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, I’m writing to let you know that “What is Freedom?” by Prologue Early College High School, created for the National Video Challenge of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation has won the 1st Place Trophy for Best Film on an Issue of Urgent Concern in the Chicago Youth Community Film Festival, taking place on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at the Chicago Cultural Center.


Nola Theiss, Director: We’ve conducted our ARTREACH program over 25 times in schools, after-school programs and summer camps over the last 4 years. We’ve been asked to return to facilities every year for 3 years. We’ve been asked to work at 4 of the local Boys and Girls Clubs in our area (South, Florida) as news of the success of our program spreads from one to another. The script of play that was written at a Magnet School for the Arts 4 years ago has been used by numerous groups around the country. We have signed formal memorandums of understanding with a number of agencies to ensure that we will return with our program on a regular basis.

What we are most gratified by is the fact that a number of students have gone to school or facility counselors afterwards to seek help as they self-identified as trafficking victims. (Refer to the Disclosure Protocol for suggested guidelines on this website)

This summer, 2014, we are conducting 6 ARTREACH programs. We are using this opportunity to test some pilot programs for boys and trying different models at summer camps. In some programs, the boys and girls are together through the entire 5 sessions. In others, they are together for the introductory session and the final session only. In others the classes’ format is different, but the material is the same for both boys and girls. Pre and post student evaluations will be used as well as facility staff and HTAP staff and volunteer’s evaluations and observations will be considered. We recognize the need for education and awareness for boys and we are working on determining which approaches are the most effective.

We began our program in 2010, averaging 4 to 5 programs a year. This summer, we have been asked to conducted 6 programs, mirroring the growth of demand for the program. We have also conducted 7 Train the Trainer programs so as to spread the program in SW Florida, but also in Savannah, GA and neighboring communities, Milwaukee and Tampa. We have created a template of the program that is updated to show the changes in the program as circumstances change, allowing others to see the way the program can adapt and to learn from our experiences.


After participating in the Empower Youth Curriculum students wrote:

“This has completely changed the way I see the world.”
“What is happening to those girls…isn’t their fault. It’s not fair. I want to know what is being done to stop this.”
“This can help me find ways to be safe.”
This workshop was really great and I am grateful that I can receive this information because many others do not receive it.”
“Very interesting. Want to know more to get more involved.”
“Thank you for spreading the word in this.”
“Thank you! This really opened my eyes.”

Empowering Homeless Youth

The Empower Youth Program is a gift to youth


Impact thus far has been development of clubs, fundraising through awareness campaigns involving bake sales, raffles, etc. and passing the money on to existing organizations working with people in forced labor.  Mostly feedback has been  student awareness that slavery today is not only sex workers and that there can be actions such as making personal choices on a small scale.


The first 3 are student/teacher responses and the last one is a story of a student that was “wrapped around” by our partners and I to ensure that services were implemented.

Student response 1: “ When I first heard this lesson on sex trafficking I was shocked and sad because I didn’t know it happened where I lived. It is terrible to know that people my age get convinced into doing these things. Thanks to the lesson I know what I need to about sex trafficking. I know what to do if something like this happens to my friends, family, or even myself. ”

Student response 2: “The presentation really helped me understand what sex trafficking is. It makes me very upset seeing that kids my age are being influenced to become a prostitute. This meeting helped me understand how kids are influenced and how I can see it coming.”

Teacher responses: “Your program is instrumental in stopping the process by making our students aware of the process and its warning signs. We would be honored if you came back next year.”

Due to community collaborative efforts with partners, a 13-year-old middle school student was identified as a potential trafficking victim through family and gang control. Contact and case management have been initiated by the project coordinator. This involves tracking, visitation, and service implementation. The student was recently released from the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) and was re-enrolled in a new middle school. The project coordinator was able to provide a seamless transition with supports in place within the school. The student is also now receiving trauma based in-home services. The student’s response to the team involved, which includes the project coordinator, a detective and a counselor, was: “you guys saved my life.”

RJI: Prevention Project

“Once I learned about the issue of teen human trafficking, I wanted to help!  The things we learned in class through the Prevention Project lets you know how to protect yourself and others and also how to make a difference!” ~Prevention Project Student, Henrico, Va

“I didn’t know a lot about teen human trafficking or how serious an issue it is before the Prevention Project program. After attending all the lessons, the Prevention Project really made the issue real for me. Now, I try to tell as many people as I can, whenever possible.”
~Prevention Project Student, Henrico, Va

“The Prevention Project program was easy to teach.  I had everything I needed in the program to properly relay information to the students.  Classroom discussion was lively and the students really responded well to the content of the curriculum, learning the realities of human trafficking nationally and locally.” ~A. Bryant, Teacher, Henrico, Virginia

Not only did the Prevention Project help me to realize that human trafficking is a huge problem in today’s society, but it also showed me that I can be the one to make a difference.” -Prevention Project student

“Now that I think back on it, I never realized how close one of my friends was to ‘recruitment’ and how it could really happen to someone like you and me.” -Prevention Project Student

“My students can now define human trafficking, recognize the signs, and know how to report potential trafficking situations. Several students were worried about a student who dropped out. The Prevention Project helped my students to report their suspicions.” -Public School Teacher, implemented the Prevention Project program in his classes

“The Prevention Project program is so much more than a curriculum built to raise awareness of human trafficking. They have done an amazing job collaborating with experts around the country to help our youth identify cultural influences, unhealthy relationships, addictions, media literacy and more; all leading to the connection of how our cultural plays a crucial role in Human Trafficking. I truly believe this curriculum is what is needed in every school today if we are going to begin a paradigm shift for the next generation. Change has to be made and the Prevention Project is just the tool students need to begin making that change.” -Rebecca Bender, Human Trafficking Survivor Leader & Expert; Author, Speaker and Advocate

Upon learning information about what constitutes a trafficking situation and red flags to look out for in the Prevention Project® program, a boy came forward to the guest speaker in his class to share what had been happening with his sister. His sister had been dating an older man who was providing lavish gifts and trying to convince her to move away. She was very likely being groomed for recruitment, and the information allowed him to put a finger on why things had felt suspicious and dangerous, and report it safely and effectively.

In one classroom after the teacher had given an overview to the students about what they were about to learn through the Prevention Project curriculum, one boy stepped forward and privately told the teacher, “This is a conflict of interest, I don’t know if I can go through the program. Trafficking is my family’s business, my uncles are pimps.” The teacher encouraged him to still complete the program, encouraging him to receive all the information and then draw his own conclusions. After learning about the damage and pain that victims experience, and talking with members of his family who are “in the life”, he decided he wanted no part in trafficking others. He became a leader of his block at school, and his when his mom traveled for his graduation she informed that teacher that he had saved her son’s life, and that he was applying for college- something he had never originally planned to do.