Anti-Trafficking Educational Curriculum

Last Year of Middle School

Lesson Plan #4

Assessment of Attitudes

(45 minutes)

Objectives:  Students will develop more educated attitudes toward trafficking and more tolerant opinions of trafficked victims. Students will have a better understanding of the inhumane treatment victims receive and the difficulties of reintegration; they will also be better able to see how blame resides with the traffickers themselves rather than the victims.

I. Review (5 minutes)

If students were not able to finish fully discussing the similarities in the stories, they need to do so. Students discuss their reactions to the homework assignment.

II. Small Group Discussion of Opinions (10 minutes)

Class is divided into the same groups of five students each. First, students take out their responses to the Agree/Disagree questions from the last class (in their notebook under the heading “Opinions”) and make a new column. Each group’s “Leader” reads the same statements from the last class, pausing after each one to give the students a chance to write their response number in the new column, explaining that they might feel differently today than they did at last class. Then the “Leader” reads Statement #1 again, and the each group discusses their opinions and whether any members changed their mind. The same process is followed for all ten statements.

III. Large Group Discussion of Opinions (5 minutes)

Teachers explain that responding 1 - 5 on Statement #10 automatically puts them into a high-risk category to be trafficked. Teacher can ask why. Teacher can also ask, “Which other types of responses to which other questions would make that person more at risk to be a victim of trafficking? [for example, strongly agreeing with #1 and #8] Why?”

(Optional: Teacher asks students for their general reactions and asks if any students had significant changes in opinion from the last class and why.)

IV. Teacher-Directed Activity (25 minutes)

1. Teacher then reads the following story about V. out loud and then tells the class, “Imagine that you are V. Why don’t you quit the prostitution and come home right away?” (Give them ten minutes and let the students individually devise as many reasons why a trafficked person might not be able or willing to return home, writing them down on a piece of paper. Call on a student to mention one, then another student to mention another, etc., writing their reasons on the board.)

The Story of V.

My name is V, and I am fifteen years old. I have a mother, a stepfather, a younger sister, and two younger step-brothers. I come from a small village in southern Albania. My real father died when I was four, and my mother married my stepfather a year later. My stepfather works only occasionally. He is an alcoholic and beats my mother, me, and the other children when he gets drunk.

When I was thirteen, one of my friend’s brothers introduced me to his cousin, a twenty-one year old boy named B. who was from another village. B. and I started spending time together, and he told me he loved me. He took me to restaurants for dinner, and one day he bought me a necklace with a heart on it. I still have it.

A few weeks later, B. brought me flowers and proposed to me. It was the happiest day of my life. When I told him I wanted to tell my parents, he said that there was no need for making known this relationship we have. He said that he wanted to leave to go to Italy the next day. He said that he had relatives there who could get him a good job and that I wouldn’t have to work. He told me about how beautiful our life would be together there.

He got illegal documents, and I left with him the next day. He told me to tell my mother that I was going to the house of a friend, so I did. We arrived in Italy that night, and that night my life changed forever. He locked me in a hotel room and told me I couldn’t leave; I never saw him again. I was alone in the room for three hours and didn’t know what to do. At around 2:30 am three men came in and began beating me. They all raped me. The main one, called L., told me that B. had “sold” me and that now I belonged to him. I had to do what he said, or he would kill me. This treatment lasted for about a week. I was only given food once a day. When he told me at first that I would have to become a prostitute, I resisted, but he continued this treatment.

I was then “sold” to another trafficker who treated me even worse. Once he beat me so hard that I could not see out of one eye for two days. He told me that he paid money for me and that I would have to work to pay him back. His name was A. and he told me that if I would not do this thing that he knew where my family lived and would rape my sister and kill my mother. I was alone and scared. I didn’t care anymore about my life, but I was afraid for my family. 

Another girl came to train me. I started to work in this way and sometimes couldn’t even believe that it was me doing such a thing. Sometimes I had to beg from my clients soap and toothpaste. I wanted to get out, but I knew that my trafficker controlled all the streets in this area. He even controlled the police.

After three weeks like this I was arrested and deported to Albania. It was only later that I discovered what had happened to me. B. was never the cousin of my friend’s brother. He lied to me and cheated me just like everyone else. He was my doom. Sometimes I curse myself and what has happened to me. When I think about what has happened to me I am sick. I tell my story to prevent this for others. Now I am trying to find a new path.

[Possible Explanations:

a) She doesn’t speak the local language.

b) She doesn’t know the country she’s living in well or the area well enough to know how to escape.

c) She has no papers or official documents.

d) She has little education and no other job skills.

e) She is viewed as a criminal by local police.

f) She has been deprived of food and is hungry.

g) She has been compelled to have unprotected sex and may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

h) She fears deportation. She knows people can track her down both here and at home.

i) She may have a relationship with the trafficker, and despite the abuse, may still have feelings for him (i.e., an unhealthy relationship).

j) She is being threatened, intimidated, and abused by her captors (for example, “If you try to leave, we will find you. We know where your family lives and we will kill you and them.”) She fears that her trafficker might torture or kill her. She fears that members of her trafficker’s network might harm or kill members of her family at home. (There are documented cases of girls being killed because they refused to prostitute themselves).

k) She is afraid of the shame and stigma she would face at home.

l) She realizes that her family might not accept her because she has been a prostitute.

m) She has been sold and re-sold repeatedly and is in “debt” to the trafficker for the money he paid for her.

n) She knows that her trafficker or his connections may have bribed the police so that even if she went to them for help, they would only return her to the trafficker or sell her to another trafficker.

Explain that these are typical of trafficking victims.]

2. Teacher asks class, “What kind of feelings would ___________ feel? How would you feel if you were in her situation?” Again, give students a few minutes to list as many feelings as they can. Call on students and write their responses on the board. A few examples:

a) fear (for own life as well as loved ones at home)

b) shame

c) guilt (though she is not to blame)

d) helplessness, defenselessness (learned from the abuse)

e) low self-esteem, lack of self-respect, even self-loathing

f) loneliness, isolation

g) desperation

h) anger (at self for being duped, at trafficker, at family members for letting this happen)

i) stress, distress, anxiety

j) hopelessness, despair

k) suicidal feelings

[Explain that these are typical feelings victims experience]

3. Teacher explains that even if the victim is brought back to Albania, there can be long-term effects of the victimization. Imagine what could they be?

[Possible answers:

a) Lifelong low self-esteem and negative self-image

b) Lack of confidence, inability to find work

c) Lack of education and marketable job skills

d) Problems in relationships (lack of trust, inability to love)

e) Sexually-transmitted diseases left untreated

f) Long-term drug addiction

g) A wide range of emotional, psychological problems

[Teacher can explain “Post-Traumatic Stress Disease” (PTSD), a psychological disorder that can be experienced by anyone who has undergone a violent or very stressful experience (example: victims or rape, soldiers during wartime, victims of domestic violence, etc.). Victims of this disease can suffer from a series problems including inability to sleep; nightmares; anxiety attacks; problems concentrating and completing a task; physical health problems such as ulcers, heart attacks and high blood pressure; sexual problems; and self-destructive, suicidal thoughts.]

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