Networking is crucial in the fight to stop human trafficking and violence against women in girls. The “P” in PATH NC stands for “Partners,” and it is important to recognize efforts of those in other parts of the country. Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships (HTAP) is a Florida-based organization and a great ally in promoting awareness and prevention of human trafficking. HTAP was also instrumental in getting PATH NC’s efforts started!
One of HTAP’s most notable programs is called ARTREACH. Created in 2010, the ARTREACH program has reached out to hundreds of grade-school and college-level students in southwest Florida, educating them about the dangers of human trafficking. Students have created numerous pieces of artwork, and they have also been involved in a play about awareness, which has been performed multiple times. HTAP has also introduced a program called Trafficking Interactive Prevention Simulation (TIPS), which informs students on the potential initial stages of a trafficking situation and shows how their decisions could lead them into danger. You can go to www.htapartreach.org to view a slideshow of ARTREACH paintings and learn more about the TIPS program.
HTAP has belonged to the UN Commission on the Status of Women group for over five years, and this year executive director Nola Theiss was a speaker during the CSW conference in New York. During the March 6 panel “NGO Roles in Advocacy and Service to End Trafficking in Persons,” Mrs. Theiss presented a summary of human trafficking in the United States and HTAP’s innovative prevention programs for youth.
HTAP has also started a new awareness program called Point of Contact, Point of Rescue. This new program will train employees of businesses, hospitals and shopping malls about human trafficking and how to recognize when it may be happening. Members of the Lee County (FL) Sheriff’s Office, school district, and the Department of Children and Families are also involved, and HTAP is also training hotline personnel to receive incoming calls from employees and law enforcement.
For more information on HTAP, you can visit the group’s website, www.humantraffickingawareness.org. Here, you can view an archive of the organization’s newsletters, and you can also find a resource list of literature and events. You can also visit HTAP’s Facebook page for more frequent updates.