By Sarah Norris, EL Education

The voices of three seventh-grade students from Rebekka Boysen-Taylor’s class at Palouse Prairie Charter School were recently included in a piece from Robert Benz, co-founder of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. Benz and this organization work to combat human trafficking within the U.S., and this piece argues that despite compelling rhetoric from people like Ashton Kutcher and Senator Corker from Tennessee, proposals to combat human trafficking that prioritize funding efforts outside the U.S. fall short of what is needed.

From his article:

Just to make sure it wasn’t all in my head, I consulted some experts at a K-8 school called, Palouse Prairie Charter School in Moscow, Idaho. Here’s what some students said:

“While I agree with Ashton Kutcher, I think that we need to revise this funding proposal to include the prevention of human trafficking here in the U.S. Eradicating human trafficking abroad is a worthy and sincere goal, but it may not be viewed as credible if we do not eradicate modern slavery in America as well.” – Isabella Taylor

“If you are against human trafficking you should work to abolish it everywhere, not just outside of America.” — Loren Forbes

“Preventing and abolishing human trafficking is definitely something that should be worked towards. However, we can’t just ignore or pretend that human trafficking is just happening in other countries. In the U.S., human trafficking is a major issue. It is important to recognize this so we can help people from other countries as well as U.S. citizens who are being trafficked. As a result, funds should also be put towards human trafficking in the U.S.” — Julia Branen

Benz knew to consult this class in particular about human trafficking because his organization’s co-founder, Kenneth B. Morris Jr., had been working with students as they studied Frederick Douglass via EL’s curriculum module, “Slavery–The People Could Fly.” 

Morris, a descendent of Frederick Douglass, founded the group to raise awareness about and end human trafficking. Morris served as an expert in the classroom, helping students make connections to what they were reading about slavery and what is happening today.

Read the full Huffington Post piece here


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