ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Those who work closely with children in the stateline came together this week to learn about human trafficking and domestic violence.

It is being held for the sixth year to help spot warning signs associated with the children they work with. It also hopes to give educators the tools they need and the basics on how to be aware of and solve these issues.

“Really feeling like they’ve got supportive networks throughout the community that they can lead into,” said Emily Schmidt, project manager for the Mayor’s Office of Domestic & Community Violence Prevention.

More than 160 educators and social service professionals in the area came together for multiple days to learn about human trafficking and domestic violence.

“Today and tomorrow, we’ll be covering teen dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, and really making sure that our participants have a good understanding of what those are, what those warning signs look like in the youth that they serve, what they don’t look like, and how they can best support their students as well as themselves,” Schmidt said.

While getting to hear from experts in the field of investigating human trafficking, those in attendance also got to meet organizations in the area that are aimed at helping the very kids they work with.

“I think a lot of times we provide services to individuals because they were referred or something traumatic has to happen,” said Quanesha Clark, community-based therapist at Comprehensive Community Solutions “But, I think getting the individuals the information before a crisis appears is teaching them the skills that they need in order to handle a sort of situation.”

Resource tools on general counseling, as well as school and community programs, were shared. Educators learned tactics for being aware of any domestic violence a student might be dealing with or how to approach this topic in general.

“Going up to an individual saying, ‘Hey, where you going with traffic? Hey, you know, you need mental health services,’ that is kind of negative,” Clark said. “So, being able to create language and speak to individuals and understand that, you know, there’s other individuals was trying to relay the same message to get our community more involved.”

The Mayor’s Office of Domestic & Community Violence Prevention has resources to learn more about these topics.

If you are a survivor of domestic or sexual violence, visit our Stateline Strong page for resources.