New Trainings in Georgia Address Child Sex Trafficking
The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, a State Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) grantee, is gearing up for new training opportunities in the spring of 2017. These trainings for youth-serving professionals, grantees, case managers, foster parents, and foster care workers have traditionally involved connecting caregivers of youth in foster care to information and resources on healthy relationships and sexual and reproductive health information. This time, the two-day trainings will have an additional focus – to spread awareness of commercially sexually exploited children and to mobilize individuals serving Georgia’s youth in foster care to connect children to the appropriate services. “We’ve seen a need for more training on childhood sex trafficking,” said Patrice Moss, who directs the state’s Personal Responsibility Education Program grantee, GA-PREP.
GA-PREP is partnering on the trainings with the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential and the nonprofit Georgia Cares. Georgia Cares is the single statewide coordinating agency for emergency assistance, services, and treatment for child victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Training and awareness are also among the organization’s strategic initiatives.
Moss said that GA-PREP is working with Georgia Cares to inform training participants about child sex trafficking so that they will be equipped to spot and address this often hidden crime. “There is a need [for our service providers] to feel comfortable to know where to go and what’s available for the youth they are working with.”
Over 100 participants will take part in the trainings, which will be held in three different locations across Georgia. Two “Connected Caregiver Trainings” will host foster care parents, providers, and caseworkers. Two “Protecting Youth’s Spark: Keeping Youth Safe from Child Sex Trafficking” trainings will be facilitated for youth-serving professionals, many of whom run local GA-PREP initiatives.
Through discussions and activities, the trainings will emphasize what child sex trafficking looks like in Georgia. Participants will learn what domestic minor sex trafficking is, how to talk to youth about it, how to recognize the risk factors and warning signs, how to help keep the youth they serve from becoming – or remaining – victims, and what resources are available in the state. “We want to cover any and all things related to commercially sexually exploited children in Georgia through these trainings,” Moss stated.
Moss added, “This information is so needed, and we want to be intentional with how we serve this population. We are confident it will be well-received.”