"Just Ask" Prevention Campaign Targets Teen Sex Trafficking
Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
January 10, 2014
“Just Ask” Prevention Campaign
Targets Teen Sex Trafficking
Timing Coincides with Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Jan. 11
Officials from the Fairfax County Police, public schools, Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, and the Northern Virginia community gathered today to kick off a new education and prevention campaign on the topic of teen sex trafficking. Defined as “the act of manipulating or forcing anyone under the age of 18 to engage in a sex act in exchange for anything of value (money, drugs, shelter, food, clothes, etc.),” police identify an average of two new potential victims per week.
Many people believe teen sex trafficking only happens to runaways or in other more urban settings. But, it is on the rise across Northern Virginia and teens are now being targeted in public venues; bus stops, walking down the street, parties, shopping malls, through social media outlets, and more. Sex traffickers do not discriminate; they recruit victims across ethnic, economic and gender strata. Most teens are unaware they are being drawn in and often don’t recognize the signs of manipulation until it is too late. Traffickers are not just gang members or “criminals”; they may be business professionals, family members, students and teens they know. The trafficker may not be a stranger; rather it may be a friend or acquaintance from the classroom.
The "Just Ask" Prevention Project is a new public awareness campaign addressing the increasing prevalence of Teen Sex Trafficking in the region. A unique collaborative, the goal of the effort is to inspire residents to get involved with prevention and encourage them to learn more about spotting and reporting manipulative recruiters. It was produced by Hidden Brook Communications in Great Falls.
The campaign incorporates age-appropriate powerful illustrative new videos into the Fairfax County Public School Health & P.E. Family Life Education curriculum. An interactive website goes live Monday, January 13, JustAskVA.org, along with a Just Ask Facebook page. There will also be cadre of posters for buses, schools, and other locations. Schools will create a plastic bracelet awareness campaign.
Additionally, the campaign partners with the Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services who will fund several prevention and education programs such as a training event on February 5-6 for counseling professionals and February10 for shelter and residential program providers. Their goal is to better prepare personnel on the front lines to respond to human trafficking victims and survivors.
Parents, family, teachers and friends will learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of teen sex trafficking situations and be urged to report suspicious activities to the FCPD Human Trafficking Unit .