Human rights group honors Leadership Academy students

A state human rights group recognized Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy ninth graders who studied efforts to combat human trafficking in North Carolina.

Students learned the threat of human slavery still exists and human trafficking is a problem in our state. Principal Teresa Pierre thanked Partners Against Trafficking Humans-North Carolina for its work with students.

“Change really does begin with educating ourselves,” Pierrie said. “We feel very fortunate that PATH NC spent time with our students educating them about the nature of human trafficking in our community.”

Students heard from representatives of different organizations battling human trafficking in central North Carolina. The students took a pledge to educate people about human trafficking.

“We spent a week learning about human trafficking and learning about different ways we could help people,” student Madison Butler said. “I never knew there was human trafficking in Raleigh. That was an eye opener.”

Since August 2011, the Salvation Army’s Project FIGHT (Freeing Individuals Gripped by Human Trafficking) has assisted 46 victims of human trafficking: 17 in the Triangle area and nine under the age of 18. Victims ranged in age from 14-63 and were forced into labor and sex trafficking.

“Education is the number one thing we can do,” student Alicia Monforti said. “We can talk with other students and share what we’ve learned. The more people know about it, the less it will happen.”

The students joined in a news conference on their campus where NC PATH leaders honored Project FIGHT, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, the Cary Police Department, Interact of Wake County and others.

At the end of the news conference, the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy students shared projects to communicate about human trafficking. They had created songs, poems, drawings and digital presentations.

“The more we spread the word about it, the more we can help,” said Butler.

PATH NC held its event on National Freedom Day, February 1. The day honors the signing by President Abraham Lincoln of a joint Congressional resolution that became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery.

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