A new curriculum seeks to teach students about the reality of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Canada, and how to prevent it.
Defend Dignity, a ministry of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada, launched its Exposing Exploitation curriculum near the end of 2017. The six units cover topics including definitions of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, how social media can be used to lure people into trafficking, the dangers of pornography and what students can do in response, and is available free at www.DefendDignity.ca.
"This is a discussion that we need to have," says Glendyne Gerrard, Defend Dignity’s director, noting children as young as 13 are exploited sexually. Before launching the curriculum the organization made videos to help youth leaders teach students about these topics. Exposing Exploitation was created to give youth leaders even more resources. The organization is also developing a resource to train youth leaders about how to use this curriculum.
The curriculum also contains a lesson focused completely on Indigenous communities due to the higher than average statistical likelihood Indigenous women and girls will be sexually exploited, Gerrard says. Each lesson also has information about who youth can contact if they are being exploited or lured.
The lessons do not contain Bible studies or a discussion of why Christians should be concerned about justice. "We intentionally left that out," says Gerrard. Pastors who want to use the curriculum will likely already have resources they can use to explain why Christians should be concerned about justice and fight sexual exploitation, says Gerrard. The curriculum is available for Christian and secular organizations to use.
As of September approximately 75 organizations or individuals had downloaded the curriculum. These include churches, university groups and school boards.
Gerrard says churches should discuss issues like pornography and sexting with their students. "It’s a current issue they’re facing," she says. "Whether it’s a kid in a secular school or a kid in a youth group, it really doesn’t matter." Children as young as eight accidentally stumble across pornography, and they need to learn how to respond appropriately to it, she says.