MANKATO—Community members are invited to a free educational event on sex trafficking prevention, hosted by Greater Mankato Area United Way in partnership with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Safe Harbor program.

 

The event takes place 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, October 25 at South Central College’s Conference Center A. Light lunch is sponsored by South Central College.

 

Register at MankatoUnitedWay.org/prevention22.

 

The event features Love146’s “Not a Number” training, geared toward parents, caregivers, direct service providers and any interested community members. The training covers warning signs, ways to talk to youth, safety planning and more. The training is presented by Jane Vader, regional navigator of MDH Safe Harbor Program.

 

The event is an initiative by Greater Mankato Area United Way’s Nurturing Children & Youth Community Impact Team. The team is one of the eight groups of community volunteers that carry out United Way’s annual review process to determine agency funding through the annual campaign.

 

“This is a great example of how United Way’s annual review process not only ensures the impact of donor dollars but also highlights wider community issues that need addressing,” said United Way’s Community Impact Director Elizabeth Harstad.

 

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Sex Trafficking Prevention program is one of the 55 programs funded by Greater Mankato Area United Way’s 2023 campaign.

 

Harstad explained that often youth can become exploited through unhealthy relationships, making the intervention of parents, caregivers and community members essential.

 

Quick stats:

·         In 2019, the Minnesota Student Survey asked 9th and 11th graders: “Have you ever traded sex or sexual activity to receive money, food, drugs, alcohol, a place to stay or anything else?” About 5,000 youth in Minnesota answered yes. Approximately 1.3% of youth in our area answered yes.

·         Youth from culturally and linguistically diverse communities are more than two times as likely to be exploited as youth who identify as Caucasian.