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Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Work Continues at Someplace Safe

Someplace Safe offers a variety of services for victims and survivors of crime. With January focused on Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness, we are digging into our Safe Harbor programming, focused on specialized services for youth who are at risk of and/or experiencing human trafficking and exploitation.

2022 was an eventful year for the Safe Harbor program! Someplace Safe hired an additional Regional Youth Advocate focused on serving youth ages 18 and under who have experienced violence. This additional position has helped to meet the unique needs of youth in a variety of ways. This Advocate was also trained to facilitate Not A #Number, an interactive child trafficking and exploitation prevention curriculum designed to provide youth with information and skills in a manner that inspires them to make safe choices.

Our original Regional Youth Advocate continues to be busy, helping exploited and trafficked youth navigate crises including mental health concerns, homelessness, substance abuse, and financial struggles. The Safe Harbor program was able to provide critical prevention programming for youth across the region including in schools and through county referrals. Opportunities to offer education on healthy relationships and exploitation to a variety of schools also resulted in youth reaching out for support.

Safe Harbor was able to provide various in person trainings over 2022 across the region, state, and nation. These trainings helped social services providers, probation officers, health professionals, therapists, law enforcement professionals, college students, and others to better identify human trafficking and exploitation as it impacts youth of all backgrounds, including males and Indigenous youth. Someplace Safe also partnered with different county partners across the nine-county region to provide in depth training and connection to critical resources for youth experiencing trafficking and exploitation, as well as for youth who are at higher risk for these types of victimization.

The Regional Navigator was able to participate in a specialized training alongside a handful of over Safe Harbor grantees across the state to learn about Healing Centered Engagement. This cohort will work in 2023 to improve services for youth across the state, and to help connect youth to hope and joy through transformative relationships. 2023 will also include ongoing efforts across the region to develop and implement community-wide protocols on responding to trafficked and exploited youth. The Regional Navigator will continue to provide local and statewide trainings on prevention and identification of exploited and trafficked youth, including Human Trafficking Awareness events in January and February in partnership with other Regional Navigators; the 2023 Strengthening Sovereign Responses to Sex Trafficking in Indian Country and Alaska Conference in New Orleans in January; and the Minnesota Social Services Association in May.

There are many opportunities for the public to get involved in this work as well. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is recognized each year on January 11th. #WearBlueDay focuses on raising awareness of human trafficking by inviting folks to take photos of themselves, friends, family, and colleagues wearing blue clothing and share them on social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – along with the #WearBlueDay hashtag. Anyone can participate, all you need is a piece of blue clothing!

Someplace Safe also continues to offer community education and prevention programming opportunities in a variety of formats and spaces. Please reach out to us at training@someplacesafe.info for more information on training, education, and prevention groups in 2023!

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