In collaboration with trafficking survivors, the Malouf Foundation and Safe House Project have produced a new OnWatch education platform to elevate people’s understanding of trafficking in America. The free digital training will be available Thursday, Sept. 17 at IAmOnWatch.org.
Hundreds of thousands of children are trafficked each year in the United States and trafficking reporting has increased by over 40 percent during COVID-19, according to a June report from Polaris Project. With victim identification at only 1 percent, the Malouf Foundation and Safe House Project re-created the OnWatch platform to empower people to spot, report and prevent trafficking in their communities.
Safe House Project CEO Kristi Wells commented, “Trafficking is a trending topic in the media right now. It’s created a lot of awareness on the subject matter, but it’s also caused some confusion on what sex trafficking actually looks like here in the states.” She added, “For example, many people don’t realize people are trafficked in their own neighborhoods, and most aren’t familiar with the warning signs.”
To help people better understand trafficking in America, the new OnWatch training platform shares the true experiences of several survivors. Each story explains the reality for survivors and teaches viewers what signs to look for and how to report suspected trafficking. Wells reiterated, “By listening to these survivors’ stories, people can really grasp what trafficking is and how it intersects their daily lives.”
Trafficking survivor Julie Whitehead consulted on the new training and emphasized the importance of education platforms like OnWatch. She shared, “I was someone’s neighbor. I volunteered in a school classroom. I passed people at the grocery store and the park. There were signs someone could have noticed—things that didn’t look right. They could have saved me sooner.” Whitehead continued, “You can still save someone else. Trafficking will be brought to its knees by regular people in our communities simply watching out for each other. OnWatch trains heroes.”
Since it first launched at Las Vegas Market in 2018, OnWatch has trained tens of thousands of people to recognize the signs of trafficking and how to respond when they see something. Malouf Foundation Executive Director Jake Neeley noted, “We’ve created an engaged community with OnWatch across the bedding and furniture industry, and we want to keep that momentum with this new training. More people are ready to fight against trafficking, and OnWatch is the perfect place to start.”
About Malouf Foundation : Founded in 2016 and based out of Logan, Utah, the Malouf Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting child sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking and online exploitation. The Foundation also works closely with local charities to provide comfort and care for abuse victims, as well as support children and families in need. Through its charity affiliates and parent company, Malouf™, the Foundation gives 100 percent of its resources to the people it serves.
About Safe House Project: Established in 2017, Safe House Project is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit uniting communities across America to end domestic sex trafficking and restore hope, freedom and a future to every survivor. Safe House Project’s mission is two-fold: increase survivor identification beyond one percent and ensure every survivor has access to safe housing and holistic care by accelerating safe house capacity and development across America. Safe housing and restorative care is critical to ending the cycle of victimization.