Gasparillo Secondary Staff
Human Trafficking Discussion with Gasparillo Secondary Boys
The discussion of human trafficking led by New York attorney, Ms. Juanita Headley, was a very eye-opening and enlightening experience. I had the privilege of being present during her discussions with forms four and five male students. Her time spent at the Gasparillo Secondary School relaying to students about the realities of the issue was much needed and greatly appreciated. Human trafficking has no boundaries and given that students are especially vulnerable because of their age bracket it is of utmost importance to shed light on potential dangers that they may face.
While the scourge of human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago may not be as extensive as in the United States, it does not decrease the significance of the problem. We live in a technology dominated era which has opened children to even more dangers of being exploited. As such, it is crucial to raise awareness, educate and empower children so that they can take measures to protect themselves against traffickers as well as other predators.
Ms. Headley has embarked on this task of raising awareness on human trafficking and sexual abuse on a voluntary basis. As one can imagine, this issue contains several sensitive elements and associated dangers to those who oppose it. Consequently, the work that Ms. Headley is carrying out is no easy task. For that reason, I am very grateful to her for what she has been doing to protect our nation’s children.
Based on the feedback I have encountered with students following her presentations, I know that the boys of Gasparillo received her message favourably. Her lecture was not only geared towards raising the boys’ sensitivity towards their female counterpart but also to emphasize that they too can be exploited. Furthermore, for many male students it was a learning experience as many of the boys were surprised to learn how pornographic material may negatively impact upon their adult lives.
More importantly, this lecture has opened up an avenue for students to recognize, voice and seek help for any related problems they are either currently experiencing or developing as well as steps they can take towards corrective action. Ms. Headley brought to it home to students that the decisions they make now can chart the course for their future. Students of Gasparillo are certainly in a better position to protect themselves against sexual exploitation.
Certainly her efforts will not be in vain as both students and adults alike have learned greatly from her message. As the old adage goes, ‘It is important to be our brother’s keeper,’ it is important to protect and care for one another. Thus, the answer should be, “Yes I can keep a secret!” Listen to those to cry for help and report any possible wrong doings.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank and applaud Ms. Headley to for her selfless, arduous and committed fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. I wish her all the best in her future efforts.