Guardian Group does its best to provide experience and education for those in college that have an interest in joining this fight. This crime will continue to grow unless more people step in and say enough is enough and that is a big reason why we provide this opportunity to the next generation willing to direct their future career along this path. Read below to see how our latest intern felt about the month she spent with Guardian Group.
Counter Sex Trafficking Internship
Coming into my internship with Guardian Group, I had two goals. I wanted to get a real look at this heinous crime and determine what my role could be in fighting this issue. Not only were those goals met, but I took away a fresh, innovative perspective on the issue from Guardian Group’s mission unlike any viewpoint I had seen before.
During my internship, I learned about the defensive approach that Guardian Group takes in the tourism industry. Sex trafficking is rampant in hotels, and by researching and speaking with hoteliers, I quickly learned that there are vast areas of growth that need to be met in this industry to adequately fight sex trafficking. In fact, most of the hotels I spoke with were hostile and defensive when sex trafficking was brought up. I can only hope that through efforts such as the Guardian Seal® Training, we can create a world where people’s discomfort of this issue is outweighed by the immediate need to stop what is happening.
I was allowed a front seat to Guardian Group’s community outreach efforts. I went to a Deschutes County Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) response team meeting and saw county leaders actively engage in a conversation about the sexual exploitation of children in Bend. I witnessed parole and probation officers attend a Guardian Group training where they asked questions and vehemently participated in learning more about what they could do to detect this crime. I watched the defensive and offensive approach in strategy through my coworkers and the work that they have committed to doing to tackle sex trafficking in America. I attended the Sealed City™ event that Guardian Group hosted and saw community members, leaders, and advocates show support in this issue. Sealed City™ is a way to get the community involved and understand the very real fact that sex trafficking impacts businesses, tourism, the medical field, teachers, social workers, legislators, officials and every other profession and community member. That event was one of the most surreal moments during my time in Bend – I started to think how proactive we could be in eliminating this crime if every city in America showed up and followed this initiative. I realized that with an entire community actively engaging in the fight against sex trafficking, this crime will decrease.
This summer gave me a unique outlook on sex trafficking in America and shed a new light on my hopes for my career path. I have always been interested in policy work towards vulnerable populations in our country, but I also want to advocate for people who are unable to do that for themselves. In the future, I hope to bring the perspective that Guardian Group takes on sex trafficking into my work and to create a balance between the problem-solving outlook as well as the advocacy and aftercare treatments that this crime requires.
I am forever grateful to Guardian Group for allowing me to be a part of their fight against sex trafficking. This opportunity was one that changed my life forever, and I hope that their mission can change yours, too.