LDSB offering information sessions on human trafficking

Information sessions on the realities surrounding human trafficking and online safety will be available to Limestone District School Board students, parents, guardians and community members from FAST 101 (Fighting Against Sex Trafficking.) The “Break the Silence – Break the Chains” – Human Trafficking is Closer Thank You Think sessions will take place on Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2022.

“Over 90 per cent of Canadian victims are Canadian-born, average age of being lured into the sex trade is between 12 to 15 years of age, and the number one preventative measure in preventing this from happening is educating our young people. Therefore, these presentations, to this targeted age group, are so vitally important,” said Doug van der Horden, Adolescent Care Worker with Limestone District School Board (LDSB), and founder of FAST 101.

According to a release from LDSB, the Keeping Students Safe Policy – the first of its kind for an education sector in Canada – sets a strong foundation for Ontario school boards to build upon to create local anti-sex trafficking protocols. This new policy will ensure every school board has a plan with core components in place to protect students and empower school communities to play a key role in fighting sex trafficking and keeping children and youth safe from sexual exploitation, LDSB stated. According to the release, Limestone District School Board is currently establishing a protocol that will support coordinated action by all community partners to prevent, identify, and recognize sex trafficking and develop responses to facilitate early and appropriate intervention.

“The daytime session for secondary students within the School Board will feature two keynote speakers, Kelly Beale, Toronto Assistant Crown Attorney Lawyer, and Matt Richardson, Digital Empowerment project,” LDSB said in the release. “Kelly will be explaining what human trafficking is, identifiers of human trafficking, and how traffickers lure their victims. She will provide several examples of victims she has worked with and the ways in which they were targeted by their traffickers. She will also discuss what can be done if a student, or someone they know, is being trafficked or is at risk of being trafficked, what supports are available, and different steps that can be taken. Matt Richardson’s presentation will make students aware of online risks, and how they are manifested and apply online, including popular social and gaming platforms. For each risk introduced, students will be empowered with practical and fair measures to mitigate exposure to potentially dangerous situations and people encountered online. Several community agencies will be on site for the student session and will provide an opportunity to learn more about the current issues surrounding human trafficking and leave better equipped to identify the potential risks around human trafficking and know what action to take should they need to.”

The school board said that parents, guardians, and community members are invited to attend a free in-person or virtual session, also on Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2022, at 7 p.m., at the Tett Centre (270 King Street West, Kingston). According to the release, the evening session will feature Doug van der Horden, Adolescent Care Worker, and founder of FAST 101, sharing information on how to prevent and eliminate human trafficking. Any parents, guardians, or community members who are interested but unable to attend in-person, they can sign up for the virtual live stream here.

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