The AAUW Circleville Chapter’s Human Trafficking Initiative
When the national AAUW organization identified human trafficking as an issue that chapters should recognize as a serious and growing threat to the lives of women, the Circleville branch began to explore the best way to expose this horrific, underground industry to our community. Then co-presidents Beth Starkey-Hill and Sereana Dresbach did not delay in meeting collectively with community leaders to discuss Pickaway County’s risk factors and to strategize about bringing awareness to those often considered most vulnerable to traffickers, our teens.
Area School Presentations
Teresa Flores, a human trafficking survivor and author of “The Slave Across the Street,” brought an eye-opening perspective to that forum, and helped garner support for our efforts to promote awareness. The chapter presidents then made a commitment to bring a tell-it-like-it-is presentation to the student body and faculty in each of the county’s four school districts. Over the last three years, Circleville, Logan Elm, and Westfall school districts have welcomed these informational sessions. The final district, Teays Valley, is planned for 2016. Teresa Flores has been the cornerstone of this initiative, imparting the realities of human trafficking at school assemblies, and giving students the opportunity to have their own questions about human trafficking answered.
In an effort to expand awareness beyond the youth, some evening sessions were held at two schools so that parents and the general public could be educated about human trafficking. In addition, the co-presidents and Jo Dye spoke in a thirty-minute program on the subject through local television. It has been encouraging that organizations have scheduled programs focusing on this topic, and Mrs. Starkey-Hill and Mrs. Dresbach are enthusiastic about those speaking engagements.
So, where does our chapter go from here regarding human trafficking? The need for training in this area has been identified for first responders and others who work with at-risk populations. Starkey-Hill and Dresbach have had a preliminary meeting with Pickaway County’s juvenile judge and the sheriff to determine training resources and how it could be facilitated to cover all staff. Community partnerships with the Circleville Sunrise Rotary Club and the Starkey Fund for Youth have enabled our chapter to bring critical awareness messages to targeted audiences so far, and we will be exploring other resources/partnerships as well as we consider a training initiative.
The American Association of University Women works toward making sure that nothing stands in the way of women and girls achieving what they want in life and we couldn’t do it without the passionate community of women—and men—who bring our mission to life across the country. From equal pay to increasing opportunities for women in STEM to expanding women’s leadership, we’re at the forefront of making change happen. Find out more at www.aauw.org.
To join the Circleville branch click here
AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.
AAUW’s Value Promise
By joining AAUW, you belong to a community that breaks through educational and economic barriers so that all women and girls have a fair chance.