U.S. Department of Education Releases New Guide on Identifying and Preventing Child Trafficking in Schools

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U.S. Department of Education Releases New Guide on Identifying and Preventing Child Trafficking in Schools

"#WhatIWouldMiss" Social Media Campaign for Youth Launches During Human Trafficking Awareness Month
January 28, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education has released a new guide for educators on ways to identify and help prevent child trafficking in schools. Human Trafficking in America's Schools is a free guide for school staff that includes information about risk factors, recruitment, and how to identify trafficking; what to do if you suspect trafficking, including sample school protocols and policies; and other resources and potential partnership opportunities. The Department also has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and President Lincoln's Cottage, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to sponsor a youth campaign focused on raising awareness about and preventing human trafficking..

"It's hard to imagine that such heinous crimes continue to exist today, right here in America," Deborah S. Delisle, assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, said. "Human trafficking robs young people of a life that is filled with hope. The Department stands with its other federal and non-profit partners, such as President Lincoln's Cottage, in helping these young people return to safe, supportive homes and schools."

"It's critical for us to raise awareness of trafficking among adolescents because we know traffickers intentionally target youth," said ACF Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Mark Greenberg. "We're pleased to work with the Department of Education and President Lincoln's Cottage on this campaign to empower and engage youth to be part of the solution."

An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization, and the problem is dire in America. Child trafficking is modern day slavery and involves exploiting a child for the purpose of forced labor, commercial sex, or both.

School personnel are uniquely positioned to identify and report suspected abuse and connect students to services—actions that can prevent trafficking and even save lives. Everyone who is part of the school community—administrators, teachers, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, food service staff, resource officers, and other school community members—has the potential to be an advocate for child victims of human trafficking. The Department's new guide will help the school community take action by providing information about the indicators of the crime, the warning signs and how to respond when students are apparent victims.

The #WhatIWouldMiss social media campaign encourages high school students to think about aspects of their daily lives that they would miss if they were a victim of human trafficking and participate by sharing a post on social media using the contest hashtag (#WhatIWouldMiss). All posts will be judged by a jury of representatives from anti-trafficking organizations. One teenager will win a spot at President Lincoln's Cottage's third annual Students Opposing Slavery (SOS) International Summit in Washington, D.C., and five additional teenagers will receive awards of recognition. For additional information, visit www.StudentsOpposingSlavery.org/WhatIWouldMiss. To download a copy of the guide, visit http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/human-trafficking-americas-schools.