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From Pamela Lee, President

 

In July of 2020, two events collided into an idea. The third week in July, I attended a conference on higher education and heard a keynote speaker, the author of Homeless to Harvard, talk about how being provided the opportunity to go to college was life-changing for her. Then on July 30, 2020, it was the United Nations' World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. I hadn't heard of that event before and had barely heard of human trafficking, but it piqued my interest. I started reading and watching everything I could get my hands on to understand the scope of the human sex trafficking problem right here in the U.S.  The idea was borne to provide human trafficking survivors with higher education opportunities. Very shortly after that, through conversations with PREP's cofounders, it was decided that prevention was at least as important as aftercare, if not more so.  PREP had its two missions: child exploitation prevention (especially online) and scholarships for human trafficking survivors. For me, the founding of PREP was a resurrection of a passion that started more than 20 years earlier, when I was studying Clinical Forensic Psychology. In that master's program, I was doing research in prisons, studying sex offenders, psychopaths, and pedophiles.

I published a study on recidivism prediction among sex offenders, with my personal goal being to provide parole boards with the best possible evidence to determine whether a convicted sex criminal would still be a risk to society if released from prison. While I didn't end up pursuing a career in that field, I never lost the desire to make a difference for victims of sex crimes. Today, PREP is coming up on its third anniversary. We have evolved as we've learned the needs of our community, and I'm so excited to continue to grow and expand our reach in the community. 

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