State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) yesterday hosted the 2nd annual Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Summitat the Ohio Statehouse. The Youth Prevention Summit brings students, teachers, public officials and advocates together from across the state to empower students through education, awareness, discuss policy proposals and participate in skill-building workshops.
Additionally, several student participants joined the two lawmakers for a press conferenceto detail Ohio’s anti-trafficking legislative efforts and allow students to share their advocacy experiences.
“The fight to end human trafficking must have a multi-pronged approach,” said Fedor, host of the annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day for the past nine years. “Bringing youth activists to the Statehouse allows them to not only engage in advocacy but to be part of the decision-making process. Their perspectives and first-hand experiences are invaluable as we work together to protect innocent lives from human trafficking.”
The press conference highlighted Reps. Fedor and Galonski’s Protect Trafficked Minors bill, House Bill (HB) 461, which seeks to ensure all minors are equally protected under Ohio law.
“Ending human trafficking is a collaborative effort that requires the input of lawmakers, police officers, survivors, advocates and our youth,” said Galonski, a co-host of this year’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day. “The Youth Prevention Summit provides a platform for students to engage with policy makers and advocates to come up with best practices to end modern-day slavery.”
This is the second year Rep. Fedor has hosted the Youth Prevention Summit and the first year that Rep. Galonski, who was appointed in May 2017, has hosted the event. Joining them this year is Mona Al-Hayani, Vice President of Toledo Federation of Teachers and Renee Jones, CEO and president of the Renee Jones Empowerment Center in Cleveland.
“The 2nd Annual Youth Prevention Summit is such a great opportunity for our youth to be armed with information on how to prevent human trafficking,” said Renee Jones. “It’s a chance to empower them to have a voice and take action. Education and awareness of this heinous crime protects our communities.”
“Vulnerability is the common denominator among trafficking youth, and I’m so thankful that I am able to present at this summit and teach youth about potential human trafficking risk factors they may face,” said Mona Al-Hayani, who led a Human Trafficking 101 presentation in the morning and a breakout on positive body image and self-esteem in the afternoon.
The morning of the Youth Summit featured a multi-faith invocation, an introduction by Reps. Fedor and Galonski and a film and panel discussion led by Renee Jones of the Renee Jones Empowerment Center. During the afternoon, students split up for breakout sessions, including a legal discussion, a session on social media safety, a brief class on health and self-esteem, a discussion about public health, a training on mentorship and a panel on youth activism and engagement. The day closed with a fashion show and a brief wrap up.