MACON – Mercer University marketing students on a mission to drive out sex trafficking from the Macon community and beyond are expanding efforts to educate local teens on how to bring an end to this modern form of slavery that affects millions globally.
Traffick Jam was founded three years ago by a team of students under the direction of Dr. Tammy Crutchfield, professor of marketing in Mercer’s Stetson School of Business and Economics. Looking to make a sustainable difference in the community, the organization has since educated 250 teens through after-school programs.
This week, Traffick Jam is launching its anti-sex trafficking program at Southwest High School in Macon, with hopes of nationwide expansion.
“I do not know of any brand that is designed to prevent sex trafficking among our nation’s youth,” said Dr. Crutchfield. “The brand and curriculum that my marketing students built are special. My students believe in the brand and the work that they are doing. And when college students talk, high school students listen. Next year, we hope to train a large volunteer base and build partnerships with every high school in Bibb County. My long-term aspiration is to take this program to colleges all over the country.”
Last year alone, Traffick Jam served 150 teens in four after-school programs. This year, thanks to the new partnership with Southwest, the organization is on track to educate 400 teens.
Traffick Jam’s volunteers have found that high school students do not have accurate information about sex trafficking locally. Teens often know someone who has been trafficked, but do not know what to do when confronted with this dangerous crime.
According to Traffick Jam’s findings, 18 percent of students educated through the program knew someone who had sold themselves for sex, and 14 percent of students knew someone who had been forced into selling themselves for sex. Twenty-four percent of students had a friend who knew someone who had sold themselves for sex.
Mercer students recently spent two weeks at Southwest building relationships with students, faculty and staff, and are in the high school presenting Traffick Jam’s curriculum this week.
Traffick Jam uses various methods, such as videos, games, conversations and prizes, to educate teens about sex trafficking and provide them with potentially life-saving instruction. Not only does the organization develop its own curriculum, it also funds its work by selling products and holding raffles. It costs approximately $4 to educate each student.
“Our class is excited for this senior project because of its impact in our community and across Middle Georgia. We hope that we are able to educate and inspire the students, faculty and staff of Southwest High School. It would be great to see Traffick Jam continue to grow and expand within the Bibb County School District,” said senior Julia Monk.
About the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics
Established in 1984, Mercer University’s Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who helped negotiate the first major leveraged buyout in corporate history. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted over 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer’s business school delivers career-focused business education programs and develops entrepreneurial leaders and responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which places it among the top five percent of all top business schools worldwide. Mercer’s business school has been recognized by the Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students” and “Greatest Opportunity for Women” as well as being one of its “Best Business Schools.” In addition, it has been recognized among the “Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting.”
The School offers the following programs: Atlanta (Evening BBA, Full-Time (One-Year) MBA, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, Professional MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA and Evening MBA), Douglas County and Henry County (Evening BBA). www.mercer.edu/business