HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) – A non-profit group, OnWatch, recently released a new sex-trafficking-survivor-led program. It’s a new module on their free digital training course — designed to empower users to spot, report, and prevent trafficking through true survivor experiences.
The purpose of the program is to teach people how to identify. OnWatch says it’s also good for educators and school systems.
“With school closures during the pandemic, a lot of children have been trapped in unsafe homes and are coming back to school having experienced different levels of abuse,” said Brittany Dunn, OnWatch’s executive director. “When we recognize a child’s behavioral challenges, we sometimes forget there’s a reason they’re struggling. The content shared in this new module helps us show more empathy and teaches educators what key signs of trafficking to watch for.”
The program has live experiences from survivors of childhood sex trafficking and adult exploitation. One of them is Alia Dewees.
“During the time I was trafficked, my teachers witnessed my emotional outbursts and the changes in my behavior from rebellious and disconnected one year, to engaged and thriving in school the next, and then back to rebellious the following year,” Dewees said. “It could have appeared to be a phase I was going through, but really, there were external factors contributing to my actions.”
The goal is to decrease the number of victims and make people in the community aware of what sex trafficking is, detection signs, and how to prevent it.
The core OnWatch curriculum consists of 10 modules and takes one hour to complete at IAmOnWatch.org. Dewees’ story is part of a continued training series offering additional information on the issue of trafficking.
All suspected trafficking should be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting “Info” to 233733. If someone is in immediate danger, call local law enforcement.