- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The National Consortium for Academics and Sports announced a partnership Wednesday with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for a new project aimed at raising awareness on college campuses against human trafficking.

Called “Shut out Trafficking,” the initiative will visit the University of Central Florida and nine other college campuses by the end of next spring, with plans to add 10 campuses per year after that. The first event was held last week at LaSalle University.

Using weeklong outreach programs at each campus, the project aims to use sports as a platform to inform students about trafficking by utilizing athletes, coaches and administrators to engage the larger student body on the issue.

The program is set for St. John’s University (Oct. 20-25), Tulane University (Oct. 27-31), Brown University (Nov. 3- 7), and UCF (Nov. 10-14). The five campuses it will visit in the spring of 2015 include UCLA, the University of Denver, the University of Alabama, the University of Nebraska, and Chicago State University. Dates will be announced later this year.

“Some of the selections highlight how extensive an issue it is,” said NCAS founder Richard Lapchick. “Not many people think of Lincoln, Nebraska, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as places where trafficking is an issue. But trafficking is everywhere.”

Human trafficking has been reported in each U.S. state. The Justice Department and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimate between 100,000 and 300,000 children are at risk for sex trafficking.

Lapchick got involved through the work his daughter Emily Pasnak-Lapchick does as director of U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s ant-trafficking program. NCAS also has programs aimed at promoting healthy workplace environments and violence prevention.

“It was kind of a dream to build a sport platform on the trafficking issue,” Lapchick said. “It’s like a dream come true because I think sports is a great platform to explore any issue.”

Lapchick said he thinks that the involvement of athletes on college campuses can attract the attention of other students who may not ordinarily be aware of human trafficking issues.

At that LaSalle University event, NCAS had a goal of getting between 200 and 300 students to attend. Around 150 showed up for the initial gathering, but that number peaked at 500 by late in the week.

“It’s raised our expectations for all of the other campuses and we are excited about the next step,” Lapchick said.

___

Online: https://www.ncasports.org/services/human-trafficking/

https://www.unicefusa.org/endtrafficking/


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