The Nest Foundation recently made a film called “Playground,” a documentary that explores the devastating impact of child sex trafficking in the United States. The film has been shown in communities across the country and even around the world, and Nest has found that prevention education is our most powerful investment in the effort to stop child sexual exploitation and trafficking.
At every screening, a common question was asked by members of the audience: “How do we get this film into high schools?” The average age of a child trafficked for sex is 13, and if children are not aware of the signs of potential perpetrators, they may end up becoming victims.
In December 2014, Nest launched a new curriculum about preventing sexual exploitation. This high school curriculum focuses on 4 crucial topics: breaking down sexual exploitation and trafficking; deconstructing media and advertising that send the wrong messages about sexuality; encouraging students to be smart about what they share on social media; and encouraging youth action and citizenship so that students can be heard.
The curriculum was piloted in Portland, OR, and data from Nest’s 2014 Annual Report revealed intriguing data: 87 percent of students were able to recognize trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery; 88 percent of students recognized the role pop culture plays in sustaining the sex industry; and 95 percent of students felt equipped to take action within their communities to prevent exploitation and trafficking.
The data shows the importance of education in the prevention of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and “Playground” is a documentary that gives strong support in teaching the public about how to recognize it and how to ultimately prevent it. The Nest Foundation is currently looking at other cities across the country for implementation of its new curriculum, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, and New York. With the curriculum, Nest hopes to arm a generation of our youth to stay safe and smart in their own environments! You can join the conversation on their Facebook and Twitter pages, and you can find out more about the documentary’s impact summary at nestfoundation.org.