ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois wants to end human trafficking in Rockford.
Rockford is the second most trafficked city in Illinois, and eighth in the country.
The average age of a girl to be pulled into human trafficking is between 12 and 14 years old.
Fiona Cummings, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, is teaching girls how to be aware of certain situations that could potentially be dangerous.
“Girls are learning from the very first day that they come in to be strong and know how to make decisions and build that confidence in their self-esteem. And we know that low self-esteem is one of the biggest risk factors for being trafficked,” Cummings said.
The Girls Scouts of Northern Illinois is a national finalist competing to win $25,000 from State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist Grant.
If they are chosen as one of the top 40 recipients they plan on increasing their education efforts for their troops. Which will help girls to learn how to establish healthy intimate relationships and teach them the signs of human trafficking.
“Girls have complete ignorance on the topic so they don’t know what trafficking means at all and some girls have said, ‘oh I think my friend might be caught up in this.’ Girls could be going to school and getting good grades and carrying on as if their life is normal but in the evenings or weekends they are caught up in trafficking and don’t dare say anything,” Cummings said.
They say it’s not all about cookie sales and camping for the Girl Scouts. If they don’t discuss the bad they aren’t living by their g.i.r.l code.
“We know if we can’t help address and be a safe place for girls while they are navigating some of these challenges, then it’s not going to be for the whole girl,” Cummings said.
The deadline to vote for the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois to receive this grant is this Friday, August 23rd. Follow this link for more information and to vote.
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