EvCC Running Start student and Girl Scout Sheridan Moore will present a program Saturday at the Lynnwood Library on labor trafficking. Moore, a Girl Scout since kindergarten, is working toearn a Gold Award, the organization’s highest honor. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

EvCC Running Start student and Girl Scout Sheridan Moore will present a program Saturday at the Lynnwood Library on labor trafficking. Moore, a Girl Scout since kindergarten, is working toearn a Gold Award, the organization’s highest honor. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

She’s 17 and can tell you how to spot human trafficking

Sheridan Moore is vying for Girl Scout gold with her “modern-day slavery” presentation in Lynnwood.

Sheridan Moore is a Girl Scout. The Lynnwood teen sells cookies every year. These days, she’s learning all she can about a hidden crime with a global reach — human trafficking.

A Running Start student at Everett Community College, Moore chose labor trafficking as a project topic as she works toward her Gold Award. That’s the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn.

On Saturday, the 17-year-old will give a presentation on labor trafficking, often called modern-day slavery, at the Lynnwood Library. Her 3-5 p.m. talk is part of her effort to create a program aimed at students.

Moore hopes to connect with high schools and enlist others to present the information she’s gleaning.

“I started learning about human trafficking, sex trafficking, a few years ago in middle school through Girl Scouts,” said Moore, a home-schooled 17-year-old.

Her interest was rekindled last spring at EvCC. She took instructor Steven Tobias’ English 102, a composition class. The research topic was human trafficking.

“I picked domestic slavery,” said Moore, who focused on people working in private households, as nannies or maids.

At EvCC Wednesday, she chatted with Tobias about how his class helped her develop the project. “I’m proud of you,” Tobias told his former student.

Among readings Moore did for the class was “My Family’s Slave,” an article in The Atlantic by former Seattle Times journalist Alex Tizon, who died in March 2017. Tizon’s article told how a woman who spent 56 years as a domestic worker in his family’s household had been a “gift” to his mother in the Philippines.

Moore is an Ambassador with the Girl Scouts, a category for 11th and 12th graders. “I’ve been a Girl Scout since kindergarten,” she said. Now an individually registered member, she’s part of Service Unit 245.

For the Gold Project, Moore has worked with Claudia Lawrence with Seattle Against Slavery. The nonprofit targets human trafficking through many programs, including prevention aimed at keeping young people from becoming victims.

Sheridan Moore chats with EvCC English instructor Steven Tobias in Gray Wolf Hall. Last spring, Moore took Tobias’s English composition class in which the research topic was human trafficking. It is partly due to his class that she chose labor trafficking as a project to earn the Girl Scouts Gold Award. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Sheridan Moore chats with EvCC English instructor Steven Tobias in Gray Wolf Hall. Last spring, Moore took Tobias’s English composition class in which the research topic was human trafficking. It is partly due to his class that she chose labor trafficking as a project to earn the Girl Scouts Gold Award. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

“Sheridan reached out to me over the summer,” said Lawrence, Moore’s mentor for the project. “She’s an interesting young woman.” Adding that the Gold Award is tough to earn, Lawrence said Moore has gone to Federal Way for community trainings related to human trafficking.

Moore has also been in touch with the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network, or WARN, which provides access to safe housing, case management, interpreting services and more.

“I’m hoping people come to the presentation, learn more about labor trafficking, and especially what they can do to help,” the teen said. She’d like people to know what it is and how to spot signs that it’s happening.

“Force, fraud and coercion” are criteria for all types, Moore said. “Every situation has to include at least one of those, and often there are all three.” There’s “debt bondage,” she said. Sometimes people never see a paycheck.

Moore listed possible signs: Long hours with no break. Living at a workplace. The inability to come and go freely. Someone who can’t communicate, or seems very anxious. Or someone working in construction without safety equipment.

“A lot of victims have no idea where they actually are, what city,” Moore said.

Amanda Aldous, the highest awards program manager with Girl Scouts of Western Washington, said only about 5 percent of girls eligible to try for a Gold Award earn one. It can take up to two years and has many steps, including a written proposal and long interview. Moore’s proposal was 13 pages long, Aldous said.

Citing a few examples, Aldous said one Girl Scout worked to revitalize playfields, then helped garner a youth tournament. Another, using the Little Free Library model, created a seed library to encourage people to grow native plants that support bee habitats.

In this region, Aldous said, only about 30 Gold Awards are given each year.

Saturday’s presentation isn’t the finish line. Moore plans to edit her program into a format others can use to raise awareness of human trafficking. In April, she intends to do a gift-card drive, donating the cards to a group providing services to victims.

She’s on track to earn her high school diploma in June, plus an associate’s degree from EvCC with a focus on global studies. She plans to attend a four-year university this fall, and has her eye on a foreign service career. Among former Girl Scouts are Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, each a former secretary of state.

Before all that, Moore is going for Girl Scout gold.

“It’s quite the undertaking,” Aldous said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Trafficking talk

Sheridan Moore, a teen working on her Girl Scout Gold Award, will give a presentation on labor trafficking 3-5 p.m. Saturday at the Lynnwood Library. It’s free and open to the public. The library is at 19200 44th Ave. W., Lynnwood.

For human trafficking information and help:

www.seattleagainstslavery.org/

www.warn-trafficking.org/

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