We always say “it takes a village” to end human trafficking because it does. It takes everyone: individuals, organizations, businesses, non-profit agencies, faith communities, local governments, social services, and the justice system. They all have a role in fortifying our world against sex and labor traffickers. How? By knowing WHAT trafficking looks like, WHY human trafficking is real in our area, WHO is vulnerable to sex and labor traffickers, HOW to respond and WHERE you can get help.
Last summer, the City of Tallahassee joined with Leon County to support local workplaces in getting training on human trafficking issues. The city’s support focused on the non-profit sector, and STAC adapted the business training funded by Leon County to offer three training programs, both online and in-person, with the last two being completed in September 2022.
Protecting the Vulnerable
This is important because non-profits are workplaces, and like all workplaces, there are employees, contractors, and volunteers who need to know how to recognize and respond to sex and labor trafficking. They need the tools to build protections in their daily operations that recognize labor trafficking, screen third party contractors and prospective employees, protect themselves from liability, and build strong reputations.
In addition, sex and labor traffickers target individuals with vulnerabilities, and human services agencies provide support to the very people who are targeted most often. Traffickers infiltrate non-profit agencies by getting hired as staff or posing as victims or survivors to recruit and victimize others. Plus, victims and survivors need a variety of services and support – and neither the non-profit sector, nor the for-profit sector alone can meet these needs. Collaboration is absolutely vital.
STAC is grateful to the City of Tallahassee for focusing on non-profits for this training, and so are the many who attended and provided valuable feedback.
A few key take-aways from the training included:
- A deeper understanding of trafficking, including how traffickers target youth and adults online and groom them versus “stranger danger” myths.
- Awareness of resources available locally through STAC and partners such as long- and short-term housing support.
- Knowing how human traffickers can be among the agency’s client population and sometimes even staff. This can be shocking and often spurs calls for agencywide training in person with STAC.
In addition, non-profit training staff worked on how human trafficking information can and should be integrated into regular agency-wide education programming.
Ability 1st Executive Director Mandy Bianchi said she recognized immediately that the STACPRO training would be invaluable for her nonprofit.
“When I saw the opportunity to gain knowledge about how to recognize, respond and hopefully prevent human trafficking in Leon County, I immediately signed up every single staff member in our organization,” she said.
“We are in a unique position to connect with our community through our Homeless Services Street Outreach Team and spend a great deal of time in every corner of Tallahassee. The information that we learned during the STACPRO Training is invaluable – I am certain that we will have the opportunity to assist victims, and I am proud that our team is trained to do so.”
Getting the Word Out
Many thanks to the City of Tallahassee for supporting this successful launch of anti-trafficking training specifically for non-profit organizations. Thanks also to United Partners for Human Services [link] for hosting the first of three programs and to the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence [link] and the City for spreading the word.
If you missed these events, it is not too late. You can request an in-person or online STACPRO training from STAC [hyper link to training request on website] or simply log in to take the STACPRO training right now [link]! Even better, ask everyone in your agency to take it with you! This training is available on demand, it is FREE, and it only takes about an hour.
Be part of the village and help protect the vulnerable by equipping yourself with STACPRO today.