In collaboration with industry partners, the Malouf Foundation™ launched a new training module on the survivor-led OnWatch™ education platform. The video focuses on identifying sex trafficking victims in schools and is a great resource for educators, administrators, and other groups to reference as they begin the new academic year.
The new OnWatch™ module shares the experiences of Alia Dewees, a survivor of childhood sex trafficking and adult exploitation, who was first trafficked at the age of 14. In the module, Dewees reviews the signs of trafficking from her story and how educators are in a unique position to combat sex trafficking in the U.S. The video also includes the perspective of Dewees’ teacher, who interacted with her every day at school and suspected something was wrong but didn’t have the proper training to identify Dewees as a sex trafficking victim.
The core OnWatch™ curriculum consists of 10 modules and takes one hour to complete on the website. Dewees’ story is part of a continued training series offering additional information on the issue of trafficking. All suspected trafficking should be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting “Info” to 233733. If someone is in immediate danger, call local law enforcement.
Jake Neeley and Alia Dewees joined Surae today to talk about OnWatch, what it is and why the Malouf Foundation created the platform.
The Malouf Foundation confronts child sexual exploitation through education, healing, and justice. They work to provide free resources to help individuals understand exploitation and how to identify victims – OnWatch is one of those resources. OnWatch is a survivor-led and informed training available online. It is designed to help users spot, report, and prevent sex trafficking right here in the United States. The Malouf Foundation launched OnWatch last year in collaboration with another anti-trafficking organization called Safe House Project.
During the one-hour training, users hear from the true subject-matter experts—survivors. Every survivor story offers insights into the signs of sex trafficking and the safest ways to report suspicious activity to authorities. Alia Dewees is one of the survivors who has consulted on the training, and now, she’s sharing her own story through their latest module.
Alia is a survivor of childhood sex trafficking and adult exploitation. Alia Dewees talks about how during the time she was trafficked, her teachers witnessed her emotional outbursts and the changes in her behavior from rebellious and disconnected one year, to engaged and thriving in school the next, and then back to rebellious the following year. Her teachers could tell something was off and there was something deeper happening than just her going down a bad path, but they didn’t know how to pinpoint the problem. When reflecting back, she believes things would have been different if an adult in her life would have understood the extent of her trauma and could have connected her with the resources she needed to escape my trafficker.
The OnWatch training is designed for everyone including parents, and this new module is especially timely with the back-to-school season. Open communication with your children is essential, even though trafficking can be a difficult topic to approach. These conversations are more important than ever before – especially now more than ever during the pandemic.
If someone suspects trafficking, they should report a tip to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, or call local law enforcement immediately. It can be scary to make an allegation of any form of abuse, but it’s so much better to report suspected trafficking than to miss the opportunity to really change a child’s life.
- What is sex trafficking: The U.S. State Department defines sex trafficking as the commercial sexual exploitation of an individual through force, fraud, or coercion.
Launched in 2020 by Safe House Project and the Malouf Foundation™, OnWatch™ is a survivor-led and informed education platform that empowers people to spot, report, and prevent sex trafficking in the United States. A registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, OnWatch™ is dedicated to raising survivor identification and supporting survivors on their healing journey. To date, OnWatch™ has trained thousands of individuals nationwide, which has led to a marked increase in survivor identification. The Malouf Foundation™ and Safe House Project were united by the shared belief that survivors should have the strongest voice in combating trafficking. To learn more about OnWatch™ or to take the free training, visit their website for more information.
Formalized in 2016 and operating out of Logan, Utah, the Malouf Foundation™ is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to confronting child sexual exploitation, specifically sex trafficking and online abuse. The Foundation fulfills its mission by providing education through OnWatch™, promoting healing through Rooms Restored™ and the Utah Trafficking Aftercare Center, and ensuring justice for survivors through child advocacy centers. Supported by the network of Malouf Companies™, the Malouf Foundation™ gives 100 percent of its resources to the people it serves. For more information or to make a donation, click here.