Everyday Heroes: Meet Ashlyn Brock
“Students really don’t know about the problem. They don’t feel like they can do anything about it. That’s why I always end a presentation with ways that they can help.”
-Ashlyn Brock, 2017 PACT Student Scholarship Recipient
When it comes to young change-makers, Ashlyn Brock stands out as a student who was not only inspired to research child trafficking, but to then take that knowledge and spread the word to her peers. In this case, knowledge is power. Youth who know about trafficking and are aware of the warning signs are more equipped to resist traffickers and safely report suspicious situations. Since January, Ashlyn has made a huge impact in her community, tirelessly working to eradicate child sex trafficking by raising awareness amongst youth. By standing up and taking action, Ashlyn has transformed her initial heartbreak over the issue into fuel for the eradication of child sex trafficking.
Ashlyn first heard about child trafficking through A21, an abolitionist non-profit organization working to end human trafficking. Founder Christine Caine came to her church to do a talk on global anti-human trafficking efforts. The talk inspired Ashlyn to write a paper for English class. The assignment? Six pages about anything. Ashlyn chose human trafficking, a choice solidified by the fact that January is the official Human Trafficking Awareness month. While most would likely stop there, her engagement with the issue was only getting started. Fueled by the momentum of her findings and the realization that trafficking is a local issue, she pushed herself to action. With the blessing of her teacher and principal, she organized a presentation to give to her high school peers. Since then, it has been non-stop with Ashlyn delivering engaging, empowering presentations to local organizations and youth in the community.
So how do her peers react to the information? Ashlyn begins her presentation by asking the audience to raise their hand if they had heard of child trafficking—very few hands typically go up. Next, she presents statistics that highlight the fact that child trafficking is here, it is local, and it is prevalent. When she presents the fact that as many as 300,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation each year in the United States, jaws drop. She then shows videos of testimonies from A21, leading to tearful, emotional reactions from many in the audience. Ashlyn’s ultimate goal is to take this emotional reaction and turn it into action.
“Students really don’t know about the problem. They don’t feel like they can do anything about it. That’s why I always end a presentation with ways that they can help.” For her first presentation, one call to action was to raise money for A21. Another call to action was to volunteer locally with PACT. She even offered other suggestions such as sending Valentines cards to the survivors and writing letters to lawmakers. With a red “x” on her hand for the “end it” movement, she likes to makes a final gesture of passing the red marker around the audience. This simple gesture causes a ripple effect of symbolic solidarity amongst the audience, beckoning all to join the fight against child trafficking. What began with one inspired student has led to many lives being touched and spurred to action. In the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
It is for her singular efforts in raising awareness of child trafficking that PACT is proud to announce that Ashlyn Brock is one our 2017 PACT Ambassador Student Scholarship Recipients. Thank you Ashlyn for all that you are doing. We cannot wait to see where the future takes you as you begin your collegiate journey.