COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WOMENSENEWS)–Students at William Byrd High School didn’t used to think the words “sex trafficking” had anything to do with them or their rural, southwestern Virginian town.

Then their U.S. history teacher, Cristy Spencer, told them about Terrell Raschard Banker, a local man who enticed, kidnapped and forced a minor into prostitution last spring.

“I didn’t understand why we were going to be learning about something I didn’t believe happened in America,” senior Stephanie Brown said in an email interview. “I was horrified when I found out otherwise.”

Spencer gave the lesson as part of a high school curriculum created by the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, a nonprofit anti-trafficking and abolitionist organization based in Atlanta. Its curriculum aims to raise students’ awareness and help them protect themselves.

Estimates of those being sex trafficked globally range between 12 million and 30 million. Educators and advocates want U.S. teens to know the problem could be very close to home.

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