Human Trafficking Task Force Art Contest Winners

High school and middle school students were surprised with prize money and poster-sized prints of their works of art.

When Sierra High School (Manteca Unified School District) student Mia decided to enter an art competition sponsored by the San Joaquin County Human Trafficking Task Force, she started out by researching the issue.


"I wanted to be in the mind of someone who was being trafficked to bring awareness to this horrible, horrible practice," she said. "A lot of the mindset at our age is 'That can't happen to me.' But it can."


Mia took first place in the competition, which called on high school and middle school students to make art with the theme of "Can you see me?" It was part of a broader effort to increase involvement of young people in the countywide effort to stop human trafficking, and the winning works of art were unveiled at the 6th Annual End It Summit at the #SJCOE in January.


On Thursday, Task Force representatives Jennifer DeAngelo (Task Force chair and SJCOE family engagement specialist), Dr. Troy Brown (San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools), and Joelle Gomez (past Task Force chair and CEO of Children's Home of Stockton) surprised contest winners with prize money and poster-sized prints of their works of art.  


They presented certificates from California Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas, and Dr. Brown at stops at Sierra High and Venture Academy Family of Schools.


Luna, a Venture Academy high school student, said she wanted her artwork to give a voice to victims who had lost theirs. "I tried to put myself in that position."


Her artwork took third place in the high school competition. Second place went to C.S., a student in the SJCOE one.Program.


Juliana, a Venture Academy student, took first place in the middle school competition. After the visitors left the classroom, her teacher asked her to tell the rest of class about her artwork, which she made to show some of the signs of human trafficking.

Posted: 2/3/2023