Program helps build a culture of life by combatting sex trafficking

Program helps build a culture of life by combatting sex trafficking (Mike Scheid/Unsplash)

There are sexual predators among us who appear quite normal. If the adults around a sex trafficker cannot always spot them, what chance do our precious children have?

From infancy throughout life, those who are exploited need to be rescued and restored. Each individual matters to God. Every man, woman or child is someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, and each has value.

The movie Sound of Freedom has sparked a world-wide conversation about the scourge of human trafficking. Pregnancy help organizations address the issue of trafficking to different degrees in various forms in their day-to-day ministry. The pro-life community must weigh in with a strong message to offset those who would downplay the issue or seek to disregard it entirely as human trafficking is a violation of human life and dignity.

The Walking Wise program strives to tackle this issue by educating parents, teachers, nurses, counselors, and kids through effective curriculum established through extensive research. With this, in addition to establishing vital protocols with schools, clubs, churches, and any organization working with children, Walking Wise has the goal of fostering an anti-sex trafficking culture.

The Academy of Forensic Nursing (AFN) has partnered with Walking Wise to help youth and those who teach, coach or counsel them, better understand and prevent child sex trafficking.

Walking Wise also works to enable youth to identify and stand against groomers.

The process of grooming follows the pattern of deceiving individuals to trust the predator ahead of the truth being revealed. Once trust is established, then manipulation, intimidation, and coercion are the tools of victimizing these children.

Walking Wise offers kids the skills to recognize unsafe adult behaviors in order to empower them to ask safe adults for help.

[Click here to subscribe to Pregnancy Help News!]

From the website, “Our objective is to teach young people the skills to evaluate who is trustworthy, swiftly identify a potential online threat, and judge when to end something as basic as a conversation or as powerful as a relationship.”

Karla Highman is the founder of Walking Wise.

The partnership between AFN and Highman enabled her to develop the curriculum and continues as a vital resource to give school nurses the information they need to recognize and prevent sex trafficking utilizing a trauma informed approach. 

“Walking Wise begins by providing essential tools to school nurses, who then, in turn, can help train school staff, parents, and – finally – students to build an anti-sex trafficking culture in the educational setting,” said AFN Treasurer Dr. Kathleen Thimsen.  

        Walking Wise's Karla Highman
        at an AFN conference

“One thing I’d like every school nurse to know is that you absolutely can guide your school toward opening lines of communication for youth experiencing sexual exploitation,” said Highman. “This program is here to give you the resources you need to make that difference.” 

Walking Wise’s informational videos on the grooming process, sextortion, pimps and buyers, and female recruiters succinctly offer knowledge on how to see through a predator’s tactics.

Walking Wise confronts sexual exploitation through four powerful tenets: 

1. Knowledge is a powerful defense against traffickers of the commercial sex trade.

2. The mission is to help adults hold candid conversations with young people about sex trafficking. 

3. The vision is to interrupt the evil intentions of sexual predators and sex traffickers. 

4. The goal is to empower youth to recognize sexual exploitation and report it.

Highman’s curriculum draws from a vast number of government agencies and non-profits targeting the atrocity of sex trafficking. 

Law enforcement is just one element in addressing the human trafficking issue. 

Sound of Freedom lead actor Jim Caviezel said in a recent interview that arresting sex traffickers is like cutting off the “arm” of the octopus – the arm will grow back.

“We have to think about grooming,” Caviezel stated. “You’ve got to take the head out.”

Challenging Christians and churches specifically, Caviezel added, “We’ve got to come together and save our children.” 

Caviezel further remarked how pornography feeds sexual exploitation.

“We’ve got to get rid of pornography,” he said. “All you’re doing is creating more pedophiles.” 

Highman challenges teens to refuse to look at porn, citing the changes to the brain, which is detailed in the Walking Wise curriculum. She encourages them as well to refuse to participate in sexting and other sex trafficking industry activities because at any level of participation one can be victimized by coercion and extortion. 

Highman points to the successful results of Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia which utilizes a teen trafficking prevention education system similar to Walking Wise’s approach, the program having established 90 minutes of human trafficking education every year in the schools.

There is hope as programs like Walking Wise hold the potential for schools, churches, civic organizations, and entire communities to utilize the power of knowledge to thwart the operation of selling children in their area and assist parents in protecting their children online. 

Tweet This: From infancy throughout life, those who are exploited need to be rescued and restored. Each individual matters to God.

The Walking Wise program extends past education to empowering young people to protect themselves. 

From the teaching tips in the Walking Wise education guide: 

“Trafficking prevention education can go beyond providing knowledge, it can also help students develop essential life skills. It will likely give students their first formal lesson about manipulation, intimidation, and coercion—which can occur in various life circumstances. Teach decision-making skills, problem-solving techniques, assertiveness, effective communication, stress management, and resilience. These skills empower students to make healthy choices and navigate various challenging situations.”

This particular solution is a local one. School districts should be encouraged to adopt curricula such as Walking Wise, which meets the criteria set forth by the U.S. Department of Education for teaching this subject matter. 

Establishing this form of intervention as the new norm across our nation would eliminate many of the opportunities for sex traffickers to prey upon children, further protecting the lives of our children, and break the cycle of victims becoming future sex traffickers. 

All life has value. Combatting human trafficking is an essential part of establishing pro-life culture in our communities.

To contact us regarding an article or send a tip, click here.

Related Articles