People are “pas a vendre” — not for sale.
Students at Pinnacle Charter High School in Federal Heights are on a mission to share that message and raise awareness about human trafficking.
The project began in Tom Prest’s world cultures class during a unit that touched on human trafficking. After learning that the practice was still threatening people around the world, the students decided to start a month-long campaign to educate people about human trafficking. Students in Prest’s two classes began spreading the word through artwork, flyers, a Facebook page called Colorado Students Against Slavery, and a video featuring students saying the phrase “not for sale” in 18 different languages.
They are also raising money for the Somaly Mam Foundation, a nonprofit charity committed to ending modern-day slavery. The students sold T-shirts for $10 apiece and are hosting fundraisers at local restaurants in hopes of raising $1,000. The final event is will be Thursday, May 3, when the students will host a schoolwide seminar to bring awareness to everyone in their school.
“Once the students realized that human trafficking was happening to kids their age and even younger, they were really able to relate and wanted to do something about it,” Prest said. “They have all worked really hard and are really passionate about spreading awareness.”
The Pinnacle students are willing to do whatever it takes to educate people on human trafficking. When junior Emily Lawson talks about the project, the drive in her voice in evident. She said she realized that she and her classmates can open people’s eyes to an issue that many people choose not to look at.
“Human trafficking is happening in the United States, and we have to do something about it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if we only save one person, we have made an impact and are spreading awareness, and that is the most important thing. Some people in the school don’t even know what human trafficking is, so it’s our job to tell them.”
Omar Estrada, also a junior, agreed. He said he wants as many people as possible to learn the facts about human trafficking and to no longer turn a blind eye to an issue that is affecting children as young as four years old.
“Kids our age kind of have a big head and think they are unstoppable, but in reality bad things can happen,” he said. “So it’s very important to raise awareness and to make an effort because every little thing makes a difference, and together we can create a big difference.”
Prest said the students have vowed to continue to generate awareness about human trafficking even after the project is over. He said he’s impressed by their dedication and perseverance to educate others.