Last week I had the opportunity to go to Carmel, California to speak at the high school three
different times. It was the first time I’ve been to that part of California and it was also the first
times I’ve had the opportunity to go into a Public School to speak about human trafficking and
share my story. I can honestly say I never expected the students to be so receptive to the
The first time I spoke it was to students who wanted to attend during their lunch break. I
shared with them what human trafficking was and some of the statistics for trafficking in the
United States. We had a small group, but surprisingly about half of the group or more in
attendance were boys. They asked questions and expressed their anger regarding human
The following day the Fellowship of Christian Athletes had a luncheon for me and I shared my testimony
with them during that time. We had a great turnout for this session and again we had more
boys asking questions and commenting on my ability to not only survive, but to thrive after
experiencing the traumatic events in my past.
The final time I spoke was in the evening the next day at the main event. The attendees
consisted of Carmel High students, teachers, parents and members of the community, including
the mayor of Carmel.
Since creative arts can be a beneficial part of the healing process, as it was for me, the program
consisted of a lot of creative arts. The program began with a music video created by Whisky
Wasp, a local band in Carmel and the lyrics to the song they created was a poem I wrote while
working through my trauma. The title of the poem was Room 112. Three talented Carmel High
students read other poems I wrote about trafficking while working through trauma. After the
poems were read I spoke about human trafficking in general, shared my personal story and
talked about ways they can be cautious and steps they can take to keep themselves safe.
Following my talk, we had a time for questions and they had so many great questions. To close
the program a very powerful poem was read. The poem was written by therapist who worked
with me while I was in therapy.
Samuel Campione, President of the Amnesty International Club at Carmel High School is the
one who met with the principal and then the school board to get approval for me to come. He
also arranged the events for me to speak at and had to raise funds to the cover the cost of the
event. When I met the principal for Carmel High he told me Samuel was very persistent about
having a human trafficking awareness event and bringing me out to speak at it. I don’t know
any other seventeen-year- old boy who would go through the things Samuel did to have the
event and get me out there to speak.
Thank you to Samuel for putting this event together and his wonderful family for being
supportive of his efforts and for making my time in Carmel so memorable. I feel as if I left with
new friends and family.
This event has encouraged me to find a way to speak to more students about human trafficking
and share my experiences with them. If they don’t know what is happening they won’t be able
to recognize it to protect themselves.