Rangel students to participate in dialogue on child sexual exploitation and trafficking

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Students from the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School are participating in a panel tonight addressing child sexual exploitation and trafficking in Texas.

The panel will also include Texas State Representative Linda Koop; Judge Harlin Hale; Judge Lena Levario; Assistant District Attorney Brooke Grona-Robb; Melissa Miles of the City Attorney’s office; FBI Special Agent Deborah Michaels; and Lisa Shedden with the Department of Justice. The panel is from 6–7:30 p.m. at the George W. Bush Institute auditorium at SMU, 2943 SMU Boulevard.

The Rangel students are participating in the panel after learning about child sexual exploitation and trafficking through a piloted curriculum program developed by the NEST Foundation. The NEST Foundation, which, in part, aims to teach students how to protect themselves and their peers from sexual exploitation and trafficking, has partnered with New Friends New Life as its instructional partner and to assist with the student forum.

Diana O’Connor, a teacher librarian at Rangel, said students were shocked by what they learned—such as that up to 400 children are being trafficked on Dallas streets every night—in the pilot curriculum program. She said many students wanted to learn more and take action to address the critical issue.

“There were so many jaw dropping revelations in the curriculum,” O’Connor said. “These students really want to do what they can to bring theses horrible practices to an end.”

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