Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $499,985)
Empower 225 has been a key partner and leader in the Louisiana human trafficking initiative for more than eleven years. During this time, E225 has led initiatives to increase widespread trafficking identification and awareness, coordinate service provision, and improve victim-centered legislation. Although there is evidence of significant progress within these areas, gaps still exist. The E225 Preventing Trafficking of Girls Program will address the gaps that include the following: (1) prevention/early-intervention services for girls; (2) prevention services in schools and for families; (3) prevention programs in East Baton Rouge Parish (EBRP); and (4) a well-developed model that can be scaled and replicated in other parishes. The EBRP 2020 Louisiana Caring Communities Surveys indicated high rates of risk factors and low rates of protective factors in family and school indicators. We will pilot the PTG program in EBRP. Primary activities included in the pilot will be: (1) training students using the evidenced-based Safe Dates and Not a Number trafficking prevention curricula; (2) establishing a trafficking prevention mentoring program for girls at risk of sex trafficking based on the best practice OJJDP’s Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring model; (3) enhancing identification and ensuring trafficking awareness of E225 programs and program partners by providing human trafficking awareness trainings to professionals (4) and developing a replicable, scalable model that can be used to enhance and scale-up prevention efforts throughout the state.
We will provide sex trafficking prevention training and dating safety curricula in middle/high schools in EBRP to 300 girls throughout the course of the grant. Prevention/early-intervention services like case management and referral coordination will be offered for girls in the program. The evidence-based Casey Life Skills assessment will help guide each girls individualized needs plan and goal development. Girls at-risk or who are victims of trafficking in PTG can participate in peer-to-peer support groups and group mentoring activities; receive referrals to E225 programs and/or outside provider referrals; participate in life skills and employment skills classes; and build strong relationships with positive adult role models. All E225’s program youth will be screened for trafficking using the trafficking screening tool and will be referred to the PTG program for further assessment and preventative/early-intervention services. The program will provide a model for developing, implementing, and evaluating that can be used throughout the state for reducing/preventing sex trafficking of girls.