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Students are the key.
The message is clear when you visit the All Walks Project website. Not only are students an at-risk population for sex trafficking but they are vital in spreading awareness. Arizona State University senior Erin Schulte, co-founder of the nonprofit All Walks Project, leads the effort in student’s fight against sex trafficking.
Schulte, who is majoring in global studies, co-founded the All Walks Project in 2014 as a freshman. All Walks uses a peer-education curriculum to educate at-risk students on human trafficking.
“Sex trafficking happens everywhere,” explained Schulte. “It affects people of all ages, races, and area codes. It is happening right down the street from all of us, we just don’t realize it.”
In 2015, Schulte spent the summer in Washington D.C. as a Capital Scholar. While in D.C. she had the chance to partner with The McCain Institute to establish the Student Alliance Against Trafficking. The Student Alliance Against Trafficking is a network of student organizations at schools around the United States that all dedicate a week at the end of January to educate their peers about human trafficking.
To maximize their network, Schulte also established school chapters around the country, such as AllWalks@ASU. The Student Alliance now encompasses twelve universities, one community college and three high schools.
“The McCain Institute has been our closest partner in the two and a half years that All Walks Project has been in existence,” said Schulte. “I am continually blown away by the quality of the work that they do and their dedication to addressing the issue of human trafficking. They have been very generous and have funded our awareness weeks, and I can honestly say that All Walks Project would not be where it is today without the support and advice that we have received from The McCain Institute.”
This past summer Schulte spent a week in Thailand with two of her fellow staff members of All Walks. Their goal was to meet with various NGOs and local nonprofits so they could receive a more detailed understanding of the local human trafficking problem than if they were to do remote research.
Schulte discussed partnerships with these NGOs to create a Sister Schools program that would allow them to harness their student chapters to fundraise and provide scholarships to at-risk children. They specifically chose Thailand because of the US dollar’s strength against the Thai baht. Schulte said it would cost between $229-250 USD to fully educate a child each year – including books, uniforms, teacher’s salary, etc.
Now that she is a senior, Schulte looks to gain more experience in international development as a mode of promoting international security. She has found a new interest in an economic development class here at ASU, which she says her work with human trafficking helped prepared her for.
“My time as a global studies major has been invaluable and as I look towards graduation I am fortunate enough to have plentiful job opportunities thanks to the unique and rich experiences I have had at ASU.”