By Omar Reyes/Staff Writer/@salar0895

The LAC became a site to raise awareness for youth exploitation on Saturday, Feb. 20, as part of the Youth Exploit Safety Symposium.
“I thought the event was a huge success, we had a great turn out. It was very informative and gave a lot of people the opportunity to network,” said Erick Mazariegos, 22, a communications major. “It gave people the opportunity to become more knowledgeable on issues that not many people see are a threat but in reality are.”
Foster and kinship care education program manager Dr. Claudia Garcia said the goals of the symposium was “to prevent further exploitation and trafficking of young people and adults, provide young people with a sense of value and purpose in being a part of the effort to end human trafficking and provide a safe environment to study, live and grow.”
Garcia said almost 400 people attended, which included an interactive youth and adult track workshops, lunch, a resource fair and raffle prizes.
Adults who attended had the option to choose workshops including introduction to human trafficking, labor trafficking, risk factors for LGBTQ youth and college life safety.
Youths who attended their workshops focused on empathy and preventing and avoiding exploitation with media presentation and interactive group activities.
Buildings D, E, F, and M were used to host workshops as part of the event. Information and main event registration was in front of the Auditorium. Adults had their workshops in the Auditorium while youths had their workshops in the Nordic Lounge.
Keynote speakers included Lt. Dan Pratt of the LBPD, FBI special agent Robert W Clark and Rohida Khan of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Partners of the symposium included LBCC, the City of Long Beach, Safe Long Beach, Kingdom Causes, Crittenton Service, iEmpathize and the Long Beach Unified School District.
Garcia was one of three volunteers from different departments to assist administration of the event for LBCC. The other two volunteers were LBCC Student Life coordinator Telia Robertson and counselor Tamara Hom.
Garcia said the symposium focused on “Healthy Relationships, the Best Prevention.” Collaboration at LBCC was under the direction of Dean of Student Support Services Greg Peterson and the Foster and kinship care education director April Juarez.