Sometimes the people we meet in life forever impact our futures.
That’s the case with Sneha Nadella, a teenage author and activist, who has taken extracurriculars at Plano West High School to a new level in an effort to combat human trafficking.
Her contributions include founding the It’s Going To Be Okay club chapter at Plano West High School, founding and co-hosting the “Let’s Talk Trafficking” podcast, and finally publishing her debut novel, “Section 16.”
Her fight against human trafficking began as a seventh-grader volunteering for a gala, where she met Tonya Stafford, a human trafficking survivor and originator of the national It’s Going To Be Okay group.
“I was struck by her story. It was simply impossible to ignore,” Sneha says. “The message regarding the value in the fight against this issue was also impossible to turn a blind eye to.”
Through the local It’s Going To Be Okay group, Sneha says she can directly help human trafficking survivors.
“All of the goods that we collect are for the sole purpose of assisting with the rehabilitation of victims, helping them get back to pursuing an education and coping with their trauma,” she says.
As the co-host of the Let’s Talk Trafficking podcast, an essential part of Sneha’s work is spreading awareness about human trafficking through deep-dive conversations with survivors and activists.
“We discuss human trafficking cases, the toll they have on mental health,” Sneha says, “and how trafficking networks can grow so big with little word amidst the public as it happens.”
Sneha’s next contribution to the fight against human trafficking is her debut novel, “Section 16,” which follows a teenage protagonist looped into an intricate domestic servitude scheme.The novel is a cautionary tale, exploring the personality and environmental traits that make the main character susceptible to traffickers.
The book came about when Sneha realized that so much of the audience she had on the Let’s Talk Trafficking podcast was in the 18+ age range, leaving a younger age gap to inform.
“Early teens are often in a stage where they are still growing and understanding the world, hence urging the need to educate them over what consists of reality,“ Sneha says. “Human trafficking is very much a reality.
“I direct my book towards late middle school children and early teenagers because they are a very perceptible age group,” Sneha says, “especially with social media being around. For traffickers, hiding behind profiles and luring victims into their scheme is a very common occurrence as younger generations put their life out on various public platforms. Whether obvious or not, traffickers rely heavily on using an individual’s vulnerability to their advantage.”
Sneha credits the Plano community for supporting her efforts.
“I believe Plano has an amazing community, and the students in both my school and my local community have been incredibly supportive in joining me in the fight against human trafficking,” Sneha says. “It’s a good feeling to know that I am not only a part of a movement, but I have others joining me along the journey. There is power in numbers.”
Learn more about Sneha’s journey and her novel, “Section 16,” on her website.