I am a teacher. I am dedicated to ensuring that every student I teach leaves the classroom more informed and more empowered than when they entered. But just how does a kindergarten teacher become a passionate advocate for sex trafficking prevention education? Would you believe musical theater?
My journey began when I happened to glance over Stephanie (Olson, CEO of The Set Free Project)’s shoulder during a rehearsal of Bye Bye Birdie. Shocking information and statistics jumped out at me from her laptop screen: the average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12-14 for girls and 11 for boys, only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued, the average lifespan of a trafficking victim is 7 years after entry…it went on and on. I couldn’t believe what I was reading – this had to be happening somewhere else…maybe overseas? And then Stephanie shared with me her own journey as she created The Set Me Free Project. I learned that sex trafficking isn’t only happening “somewhere else”, and it isn’t only happening “overseas” – sex trafficking is happening everywhere, and anyone can become a victim. And while much was being done to help the victims of this horrible crime, I learned that no one had been educating the potential victims, and those most at risk were our children! The Set Me Free Project was created to fill that gap and bring trafficking prevention education to youth, families, and communities.
I am a teacher. And I am dedicated to using all the knowledge and skills I possess as an educator to ensure that every person who participates in one of our presentations leaves more informed and empowered to protect themselves and others from ever becoming a victim of sex trafficking.