Sex Trafficking Prevention

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Sex Trafficking Prevention

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Savannah Sanders

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Sex Trafficking Prevention: A Trauma-Informed Approach for Parents and Professionals

By Savannah J. Sanders

"We live in a world where an abuser can spot a vulnerable child from a mile away or from across a crowded room, yet every other adult in the child's life is likely to miss it."

Savannah J. Sanders

Forget what you thought you knew about sex trafficking and the best ways to prevent it. The problem is larger in scope and involves more factors than most can imagine. This book:

  • lays out what makes young people vulnerable to trafficking
  • explores the real root of the problem and the numerous effects of abuse
  • outlines steps parents and others can take to mitigate those risk factors
  • describes ways to help victims find healing.

Drawing from her own experience being trafficked plus her insights gained from years of advocacy and anti-trafficking work, the author speaks directly not only of the realities of trafficking that occurs in our own communities but also the solutions that we can all be a part of. She talks of everyday things we can do to intervene—not “rescue”—youth in troubled lives and homes. The book also lists hidden signs of trouble and offers parents and professionals practical tools and knowledge to intervene and make a positive difference in young people’s lives.


"The book use my own personal story as a case study, but also my experience and theories as a social worker to talk about child abuse and how it leads to human trafficking. For example, I talk about the first time i told my parents; right, wrong and I break it down into what could have been done differently, and what I do differently with my own children to prevent sexual abuse from happening to them. It's written in a way that is not triggering for survivors and is something I feel comfortable having teenagers read as well."  —Savannah

Why should parents read Sex Trafficking Prevention?

SAVANNAH: Looking back on my childhood, I realize how the adults in my life missed signs of abuse because they saw them as signs of behavior instead of symptoms of abuse. Now I've learned different techniques and ways to work with my own children to advocate for themselves and their bodies, which, on multiple occasions has saved them from experiencing sexual abuse. We've had four experiences now in our family that have stopped sexual abuse in its tracks. Parents should read it so they know to be aware, what to watch for, and what to do if they suspect abuse in their children.

Why should professionals read Sex Trafficking Prevention?

SAVANNAH:  Professionals who work with those at risk of being trafficked are providing valuable services to the most vulnerable members in our society. However, most of the training that professionals receive is textbook-oriented, which is important, but this book gives a real life account (my own as a survivor) with the added benefit of a professional view (my own as an educated, experienced educator and advocate). 

Why should teenagers read Sex Trafficking Prevention?

SAVANNAH:  It took me a long time to recognize the causes of my pain while I was growing up. I didn't realize that the way I acted was because of the abuse I'd experienced. I honestly didn't understand that I'd been abused until I became an adult. No one who came into my life, no matter how much they loved me, knew to teach me what abuse looked like. Later on as an adult, I was able to understand that there wasn't something wrong with me. Rather, it was something that had happened to me. It was one of the most freeing experiences I had. This book outlines some of those experiences and realizations I had and I hope that every teen that reads this is able to see that their worth today is no different than it will be ten years from now and that they can do anything that they put their mind to.

Book Details

Publisher: Unhooked Books
Publication Date: July 2015
Binding:  softcover
ISBN (print): 978-1-936268-84-9
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-936268-85-6

Author

Savannah Sanders is a leading voice in the prevention of sex trafficking in the U.S. and abroad, and author of Sex Trafficking Prevention: A Trauma-Informed Approach for Parents and Professionals (Unhooked Books, 2015).

Savannah shares her compelling story of abuse and recovery to audiences of professionals who work with vulnerable youth and with trafficking victims, and also to teens and other groups. She has provided testimony on Emmy-nominated television news segments, in sex trade documentaries, at local events and on talk radio.

2014 Triumph Over Tragedy recipient, with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

2014 Triumph Over Tragedy recipient, with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

She was the Training Coordinator for the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute SAFE Action Project, elevating awareness and action within the hospitality industry to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children. She is a founding board member of Well Founded Hope, helping to restore the lives of traumatized young women who have been sex trafficked.

Working with the organization Mending the Soul, Sanders was instrumental in developing and implementing curriculum to help survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation. She was a Program Fellow of Intervention, Recovery and Empowerment Services for TRUST, a grant-funded project to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts.

Ssvannah Sanders—Sex Trafficking Prevention

She holds a degree in Social Work and Women and Gender Studies and is pursuing a graduate degree in Social Work and Social/Cultural Pedgogy at Arizona State University.

Book Details

Publisher: Unhooked Books
Publication Date: July 2015
Binding:  softcover
ISBN (print): 978-1-936268-84-9
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-936268-85-6

Foreword

For she is uniquely and wonderfully made—
The year I met Savannah Sanders was the same year my clinical team and I assessed and treated 21 girls and young women who had been identified as sex trafficking survivors in order to better understand how to support that particular population of victims. At the time, I was the owner and executive director of a mental health clinic and had enjoyed a fifteen-year private practice specializing in abuse recovery. Savannah was the second “trafficked survivor” I had the privilege of meeting—she was unforgettable, mesmerizing, and one of the most beautiful and passionate young women I had ever met. As we sat on a bench talking in a sun-drenched park while her children laughed and played, she began to tell a heart-wrenching story of betrayal, abuse, and exploitation. While she talked I listened with tears welling in my eyes marveling at the exquisite strength and wisdom possessed by one so young. From our first meeting on I knew that Savannah would leave her mark on a broken world. I knew she would pass on every bit of support she received, impacting thousands of people in her lifetime. She is already living up to those expectations and continues not just to impact the survivors she serves but their caregivers as well.

Savannah was a quick study, paying keen attention to the models and interventions that helped her; she passes those on in practical ways to help others. In Sex Trafficking Prevention Savannah articulates hope for communities that bring children from darkness into light; her wounds eventually became a womb, a fertile place where life was birthed. Savannah’s sacred gift offered up on these pages is the vulnerable articulation of her story. The reader feels loved in the telling. It’s bold and honest and memorable as it gives each of us clear and simple direction in what we can do, what we must do, to prevent our children from being sold into slavery. It’s a mission of love, a model of costly compassion for communities.

There is much wisdom—applied knowledge in these pages. I am grateful that Savannah boldly tucks the subset of sex trafficking under the broader category of abuse. And so it is. Of the twenty-two interviews our clinical team conducted all but one of those beautiful young women had experienced early childhood sexual abuse that was perpetrated by adult(s) who were entrusted with their care. Every girl knew, what we are learning now, that the abuse and maltreatment they experienced as young children created the vulnerabilities that turned each of them into the “perfect victim.” By the time they ran to the streets, they told us, they were already survivors and bearing the scars of that early abuse. Whether we’re educators, providers, parents, or clergy, Sex Trafficking Prevention articulates when to intervene with children and teens and how to do it well. The time is now—this book shows us how. Thousands of children are waiting on us.

CELESTIA TRACY, Founder and Director of Resource Development
Mending the Soul Ministries

Praise

“As part of my role as a Vice President for the International Association of Trauma Professionals and CEO of the Arizona Trauma Institute, I have had the pleasure of interacting with Savannah.   Her passion for ending sex trafficking and the exploitation of children have earned my respect and admiration. Savannah Sanders has been and will continue to be a powerful voice for policy and social change. I am pleased to be in a position to recommend her new book to you, and know that you will find that it is written in an easy and accessible format making the concepts and call to action clear and possible.”

Robert Rhoton, Psy.D.; LPC; D.A.A.E.T.S. Diplomate of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress; Vice President, International Association of Trauma Professionals; co-editor of the International Journal of Trauma Practice and Research; CEO of Arizona Trauma Institute & Therapy

“As a survivor and social worker, Savannah Sanders is a leading expert on the topic of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Her book, Sex Trafficking Prevention, will be a great contribution to the anti-trafficking field. We are lucky to have such access to her insight and expertise. I am so proud to know her both professionally and personally.”

Holly Austin Smith, author of Walking Prey 

“Would you know how to recognize a child that is vulnerable to sex trafficking?  Would you know what to do if you did?  Sex trafficking of children is not the purview of third world nations nor is it something that happened in the past before technology was available to track predators.  It’s happening today . . . in your city . . . in your community . . . every single day. That is one of the key messages imparted in Sex Trafficking Prevention, a powerful new book by survivor and prevention advocate, Savannah Sanders. By sharing her story Savannah opens our eyes to the world of childhood abuse and trauma that diminishes a child’s feelings of self-worth, so much so that saying no and escaping the victimization become impossibilities. But this is not inevitable. We can do something to help at risk children. That is Savannah’s other message. And through her book, she teaches us how.“

Stefanie Zucker, child health and safety advocate, Managing Director of Pediatric Safety, pediatricsafety.net

“Given how horrible sex trafficking is, we don’t want to think that it could ever happen to those we love. Yet as Sanders shows, any person is at risk, especially those who have been sexually abused as children. This books gives you the framework and tools to help develop your child’s resiliency to sexual abuse in case they are targeted and builds their trust in you as a safe person to turn to. I hope this life-saving information will soon be implemented in every household, for every child.

Sandra Kim, Founder of Everyday Feminism

“This book is written with the same honesty and strength with which Savannah lives her life. Her ground-breaking book serves to remind us all that sex trafficking is a multi-faceted issue. Savannah bravely shares her experiences to educate readers about the link between sex trafficking, child abuse and domestic violence. Every advocate for child abuse and domestic violence must read this book. And every person who cares about others should read this book, and become a part of the solution through learning and being able to recognize the signs. Savannah’s insight and advice throughout this book will no doubt save lives if readers are brave enough to utilize her wisdom and speak out. As a fellow advocate for victims, I feel confident we are making change with a woman like Savannah on our side!  

Jessica Nicely, author, All My Friends Are Zeros, CEO/Founder, Winged Hope Family Advocacy Foundation

“When we violate the sacred boundaries of childhood by sexualizing, raping or abusing our children we set them on a course vulnerable to the prey of unscrupulous pimps and johns. The FBI estimates that over 100,000 children and young women are trafficked in America today. They range in age from nine to 19, with the average being age 11. This glimpse into Savannah Sander’s heroic story can help raise awareness, break down barriers to reality, and inform parents, police, educators and the legal system how to protect our children from sex trafficking.”

Lynne Kenney, PsyD Pediatric Psychologist, 
  co-author, BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with
  Anxious, Angry, Over-the-Top Kids