Soroptimist International helps raise human trafficking awareness

Teachers, parents, and students of Carlsbad High School recently had the opportunity to become more informed on human trafficking and how it impacts families of all socioeconomic levels in San Diego County. On June 7, Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland visited the Parent Teacher Student Association meeting to raise human trafficking awareness. The Soroptimists brought the 20-minute docudrama titled, “CHOSEN” for attendees to watch.

The film shared the story of two American girls deceived into sexual exploitation.

Before the film, there was a brief presentation led by Kaye Van Nevel of Soroptimist International Vista and North County Inland. According to Van Nevel, Soroptimists have had a strong focus in raising awareness on human trafficking for more than a decade. Van Nevel also champions the San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative.

Following the viewing of “CHOSEN,” Van Nevel was on hand for a Q&A. 

Van Nevel said “CHOSEN” is a true story and is also very relevant.   

“One of the young women is 18 and just out of high school,” she said. “She falls for a handsome, somewhat older guy she meets while waitressing.” She added that the young woman is lured into human trafficking. “It (the docudrama) is very well done, and hits home.”

The film educates adults and teens on the warning signs of being trapped into sexual exploitation in an effort to prevent other unsuspecting victims from being trapped into it.

Van Nevel is quick to point out that human trafficking is a global issue. She also shared how 80 percent of those who are sexually exploited are United States citizens — and anyone can be a target. Also, 72 percent of those victims are youth.

Van Nevel explained that over the years there are always a few in the group surprised to learn that human trafficking is taking place in their own backyard. There is a perception that it’s happening somewhere else. 

Some attending the June 7 meeting were also surprised by the statistics, Van Nevel said. She also noted the prevalence of sex trafficking with women and girls but said boys can also be victims.

Van Nevel hopes that viewers walked away armed with more knowledge, awareness and with a newfound interest to team up with an organization such as the San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative, which are fighting this epidemic. Other ways people are getting involved include mentoring and helping victims of sex trafficking with the goal of living a new life.

“When our public schools, both middle and high school grades, open their doors to presentations such as this, we create public interest and hope to abate and eventually eradicate these crimes,” Van Nevel said.

To learn more about the North San Diego County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative, visit www.soroptimistvista.org.

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