Workshop Gives At-Risk Youth Tools to Counter Human Trafficking

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Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA) holds Human Rights and Human Trafficking Workshop at the L. Ron Hubbard Auditorium of the Church of Scientology of Inglewood in Los Angeles to train 250 youth on the basics of human rights and how to spot and help victims of human trafficking in a city ranked among the top three human trafficking hubs in the United States.

The Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA) held a human rights and human trafficking workshop September 18 at L. Ron Hubbard Auditorium in Los Angeles.

The Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA) held a human rights and human trafficking workshop September 18 at L. Ron Hubbard Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Don’t sympathize—empathize

The stark realities of human trafficking were brought home to 250 at-risk youth at a one-day workshop that explained the difference between apathy, sympathy and empathy. The youth learned to recognize the signs of human trafficking and take effective action.

The program featured former trafficking victims whose stories helped students understand how traffickers entice and trap their victims.

A young woman starts dating a new guy at school or one who hangs with a different crowd. Bit by bit, he gets her to violate her own principles to the point that she’s hooked on hard drugs and out on the street turning tricks to pay for her habit.

“Don’t sympathize—empathize,” was the theme: When you see it, do something. Take it on.

It was a very interactive program with drills and discussion, bringing the entire issue home to the students by helping them identify the negative pushes and pulls in their lives that make them vulnerable to people who want to exploit them.

Guido Hajenius from IEmpathized helped the youth identify five disguises that are used by exploiters. The youth were empowered to respond if exploitation is happening among their peers or family. They left the event with the task of working and developing a plan of Empathy for their neighborhood.

Sister Ines Telles is the soul of the program. Her passion for the youth and their future pervades the entire activity. A member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, she was a missionary in Peru for 22 years before returning to the United States in 1989 where she has worked in the Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA) ever since. SEA is a nonprofit agency that works with high risk youth and families in Los Angeles. It was founded by mothers from East Los Angeles whose sons were killed by gang violence.

The workshop included the study of What Are Human Rights—a fully illustrated version of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights that makes human rights understandable to young people—and public service announcements depicting the articles of the Declaration. These materials are part of the Youth for Human Rights International curriculum, a human rights initiative supported by the Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology supports United for Human Rights (UHR) and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights. United for Human Rights has provided educational materials in 17 languages to more than 150 nations. Learn more at

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