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Home / News / Education / Riverside area students produce video to combat human trafficking

Riverside area students produce video to combat human trafficking

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Students from Palm Desert High School have produced an original video to combat human trafficking, the Riverside County Office of Education announced Tuesday.

Production of the four-minute video was a partnership among the Riverside County Office of Education, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the Coalition to End Human Trafficking Coachella Valley Riverside County at the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center.

Titled “Waiting By The Phone,” it was written, directed and edited by students from the Desert Sands Unified School District school to create awareness by identifying warning signs that students might not otherwise recognize.

In the description accompanying the video on YouTube, Riverside County Office of Education officials wrote, “What might it look like if someone you know is being exploited by a human trafficker? What are some of the warning signs that you might be missing? How can students and educators be on the lookout to protect one another and the community? These challenging questions are what has led to this original video production to combat human trafficking created by students.”

Human trafficking is a $150 billion global industry rivaling illegal drug and weapons trafficking as the most profitable and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, according to the Coalition to End Human Trafficking.

“I encourage all educators in Riverside County to share this video with students of an appropriate age who should be protected from this form of modern enslavement that threaten to interrupt their limitless future,” Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Edwin Gomez said.

“I applaud our Riverside County Sheriff, District Attorney, and the Coalition to End Human Trafficking in Coachella Valley and Riverside County who are committed protecting the dignity and worth of all 430,000 students in Riverside County,” Gomez added.

“The dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking unit within the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department was formed in 2010 and is actively preventing and investigating those who are seeking to take advantage of Riverside County residents,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said. “To further that commitment to end human trafficking in our county, we need educators, students, and the public to know the signs and report suspicious activities. Our team remains available to come to your events, trainings, or school assemblies, so you can join the fight to protect one another,” Bianco added.

“Our office is committed to prosecuting human traffickers who attempt to prey on any of the citizens of our county,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said.

“This starts with educating the public about warning signs since the more our students and educators can be on the lookout for one another, the safer we all become in preventing anyone from taking advantage of one of our most valued assets — the youth in our community that represent our future,” Hestrin added.

Educators interested in building awareness in their school communities can schedule trainings and presentations for school assemblies and events by contacting the coalition at 760-773-1635 or visiting humantraffickingcoalition.org.

In addition to training geared toward educators, students, parents and school personnel, the coalition also provides instruction for a wide range of others that includes community members, service providers, health care professionals, investigators and social workers.

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