In January, Alternatives for Girls lead an informational assembly for the students of Detroit International Academy, which focused on the resources offered by Alternatives for Girls and the dangers and statistics of human trafficking. Alternatives for Girls’ mission is to “help homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, and helps them to explore and access the support, resources and opportunities necessary to be safe, to grow strong and to make positive choices in their lives.”

AFG focuses on providing three main services to fulfill their goals: AFG Prevention, the AFG Shelter/Transition to Independent Living Program, and AFG Outreach.

The Prevention program is for girls 4-to 18-years of age who are “at risk of pregnancy, gang involvement, abusing drugs or alcohol and school truancy.” AFG Prevention uses after-school programs, a teen leadership program, and a summer camp.

The AFG Shelter houses homeless girls 15-to 21-years of age and their children while offering counseling, case planning, and life skills training.

The Outreach program assists teenaged girls and women involved in high-risk activities. These may include street-based prostitution, drug use, and gang involvement. The Outreach program seeks to educate those involved about the risks these activities pose and to help them “transition to safe choices and healthy lives.”

Alternatives for Girls also has a Resource Center that directs those in need to the program or organization that can best serve them.

The presentation began with a clip from the film A Path Appears, “Sex Trafficking in the USA.” The clip features survivors’ stories and the extent of sex trafficking across the nation.

Victims are often lured into trafficking by people who present themselves as a friend first. Many children after recently escaping a dangerous situation are looking for someone to trust and resources such as food and shelter. A predator may promise to provide these things, and then reveal their intentions later on, after it is too late for the victim to easily walk away. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry.

According to DoSomething.org, 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked yearly into the U.S. Women and girls make up about 55% of human trafficking victims. The average age of a trafficked girl is 12-to 14-years old.

What can you do to help? AFG says it is important to keep your eyes open and report suspicious activity. Alternatives for Girls is also seeking volunteers for various positions such as tutors and mentors. If you are interested in volunteering, the organization can be reached at volunteering@alternativesforgirls.org.