We are high school students in the fight against human trafficking.
CompPassion was established when we (Anna Catalano and Grace Kim) realized we needed to raise our voices against human trafficking, an increasingly prevalent but underrepresented issue.
When quarantine started due to COVID-19, we noticed an increasing number of human trafficking cases in our community. Due to quarantine, more people were gaining access to the Internet and going online. For example, where we lived, every student received a laptop for online learning, making them vulnerable to being approached by online predators.
In March 2020, we conducted a project in which we developed an app to raise awareness for human trafficking. To educate ourselves about the issue, we researched online and interviewed professionals working to combat human trafficking, including presidents of anti-human trafficking organizations, directors at shelters for survivors, and clinicians providing trauma therapy to survivors.
We were shocked to learn how prevalent human trafficking was in our area, Northern Virginia (NOVA) of the United States. Because NOVA was known to be a safe area, we believed human trafficking was not common in our community and therefore did not affect us, which was a common misconception of residents in our area. We learned that this belief was the opposite of reality.
Therefore, we became determined to educate others about the increasingly prevalent issue of human trafficking. We decided to use social media, a powerful tool to educate the public about issues, to raise awareness for human trafficking.
After, we wondered how we could help human trafficking survivors and those at risk. Because we were knowledgeable about computer science and experienced in teaching this subject, we wanted to use our skills to provide them with opportunities to learn computer science and let them know that they can make an impact in the world.
CompPassion was established for two main goals: to raise awareness for human trafficking and to empower survivors and those at risk to change this world using technology.
- Anna Catalano and Grace Kim
From experts in the anti-human trafficking field
President & CEO of Children at Risk
What we really need are young blood, young people who really want to figure out how do we end this? How do we really make a big difference?... There is a uniqueness about teenage girls deciding that they are going to try to end trafficking, and I love that idea.”
Executive Director of Samaritan House, Inc.
Using social media and their [teenagers’] language for prevention and education [of human trafficking] would be great [to convey your message].
Staff Attorney of Children at Risk
Having someone your age who's embracing technology and actually using it to make things safer is a really, really good idea.