New Haven Academy Jo’Anna “JoJo” Sutton has set out to educate her classmates and community on the human trafficking industry. Sutton organized an all-day conference to educate the community about sex trafficking. The conference, “We are W.O.M.E.N.”—wise, optimistic, motivated, empowered and natural—attracted nearly 50 guests.
“You see what’s under the seats or behind the curtains within our own country,” Jessica Richardson, sex trafficking survivor and conference speaker, said. “I think our young people are just waiting to be passionate about something, it’s their nature to be heard and to fight for something.”
Conference break-out sessions focused on risk factors that subject young people to sexual exploitation, ways youth can guard themselves, and the history of sex trafficking in America.
Ultimately Sutton hopes that by informing her community she can play a major role in putting an end to such a rarely discussed problem.
Within the next month Sutton hopes to do a prevention and education workshop, “Tell Your Friends,” at her school. “Tell Your Friends” educates students on the “process of recruitment and reality of exploitation” as well as on the basic needs that may drive youth toward commercial sex, according to the curriculum overview on Love146.org.
“If I start in my own community, then I can get a better grasp on what I want to do with this,” Sutton said. “The conference I did is not the last thing I want to do, I want to create so much awareness that everybody knows about it.”
Learn more at Rachel Chinapen’s New Haven Register article: New Haven Academy student works to fight sex trafficking.