In September 2017, PBD launched its first One Humanity Tour, which was conceived out of the conviction that theatre can contribute to the development of informed, thoughtful, and compassionate citizens. That original tour, which completed its second season in October, brings Eric Coble’s powerful play, Swagger , to sixth graders in Palm Beach County middle schools, free of charge. Coble was commissioned by PBD to write a balanced play addressing the tensions that our community and our nation are experiencing between citizens and law enforcement. In its first two years, Swagger has been seen by 11,000 students and has been a big success with them, with educators, and with law enforcement officials.
Next season, PBD will introduce its second One Humanity Tour, this one aimed at seventh graders, featuring a commissioned work that will examine another urgent issue: human trafficking and online safety. The play will premiere during Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January 2020, and each performance will be followed by a talkback. There will also be supplemental materials for teachers, administrators, and parents. Swagger will continue to be performed for sixth graders in the fall.

“Over 20 million people globally are victims of human trafficking, and according to the Florida Department of Health, South Florida is ranked third in the nation as the most trafficked destination,” says Gary Cadwallader, director of education and community engagement. “A dire component of this statistic is that 50 percent of all victims are under the age of 18, and according to the human trafficking unit of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, many are middle school children. Eighty percent of these victims are girls. Human trafficking victims cross all socio-economic profiles, and many trafficked children remain at home and attend school. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, last year the total number of cases reported in Florida was 1,923, with 612 being minors. The estimated number of unreported persons trafficked in Florida is 4,983; 50 percent are estimated to be underage. A Palm Beach County middle school principal recently remarked that this topic ‘keeps him up at night.’”
The play will present a narrative of cause and effect, and the post-performance talkback will include a discussion about online safety and emphasize to the students how their smartphones are a gateway for traffickers. A survivor will also speak about her personal experience.

“We’re offering this show to seventh graders because the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office says that they are prime targets of human traffickers,” says Cadwallader. “Puberty often creates anxiety at this age, and physical changes sometimes lead to mood swings and low self-esteem. Cognitive development in seventh grade students shows more independent-minded youth detaching from the structure imposed by parents or guardians. These factors combined allow predators to groom and entrap teenagers. This project will guide children to think critically about all facets of this topic.”
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