The Center Against Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Center) was created in 2017 by Fontbonne University in response to the need in St. Louis and Missouri to aid in the prevention of human and sex trafficking. Despite increased awareness of the growing problem, resources to aid survivors in their healing, education to the community, and collaborative work amongst various industries is greatly limited and not unified.
The Center Against Human Trafficking and Exploitation at Fontbonne University aims to combat the problems associated with human trafficking through education and training, data collection, and collaborative efforts for advocacy and further prevention of all types of trafficking and exploitation. The Center has three primary focus areas:
The Center provides education and training to clinicians, police, therapists, healthcare providers, caseworkers, teachers, community volunteers, community leaders, and other professionals whose work may intersect with trafficked persons. Programs include a) two workshops annually, offering 30 hours of Advanced Skill Training in Human/Sex Trafficking approved by the State of Missouri Committee for Social Work; and b) the development of online trainings and workshops to industry-specific organizations (hospitality, hospitals, transportation, etc.)
One of the largest identified gaps in trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, is the lack of data and knowledge of the scope of the problem. Through the formation of an Alliance of specialists, the Center will help create a repository of data to inform the community about prevalence of trafficking and the effectiveness of treatments and interventions used with survivors. Identified service providers that work directly with survivors of trafficking will be invited to designate one or two staff members to serve in the Alliance and act as liaisons with the community and consumer/client/survivors. They will complete the Advanced Skill Training, serve as the designated contact and resource in their organization regarding human trafficking concerns and treatment, and compile data which will be analyzed over a 12 month period by the Center and then disseminated to the community. The Alliance will serve as an environment to facilitate networking and collaboration amongst multiple organizations working with trafficked persons. The Center will facilitate Alliance goals by leading events for new members and collecting, presenting and disseminating data to inform the needs for education, prevention and programming.
The Center aims to create an Advisory Board comprised of community and industry leaders, lawmakers and stakeholders who will work to promote prevention and accountability to those involved in various types of human trafficking. Through the hosting of press conferences, speakers, and events, the Center will build awareness and advance the prevention of human trafficking and exploitation through various channels in St. Louis, Missouri, and nationally.