Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

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Combatting Human Trafficking in America's Schools

Of 22,326 trafficking victims and survivors identified through contacts with the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2019, at least 5,359 were under age 18.1 Many underage victims of human trafficking are students in the American school system. No community, school, socioeconomic group, or student demographic is immune to the threat of human trafficking. Cases of child trafficking are found in every area of the country—in rural, suburban, and urban settings alike.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes these facts and stands ready to support America's schools in preventing, responding to, and helping students recover from human trafficking. It is fitting that schools take on this challenge; of all social institutions, schools are perhaps the best positioned to identify and report suspected trafficking and connect affected students to critical services.

To support schools' efforts to combat trafficking, the Department offers helpful resources. for administrators, teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, parents, caregivers, and students

Additionally, the Department funds the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) technical assistance center. NCSSLE supports schools' efforts to combat human trafficking by offering a varied collection of helpful resources for administrators, teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, parents, caregivers, and students.

 

1Polaris Project. (2020). 2019 data report: The US National Human Trafficking Hotline. Washington, DC: Author. https://polarisproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Polaris-2019-US-National-Human-Trafficking-Hotline-Data-Report.pdf

Identification and Intervention

Guides & Training Tools

Addressing Human Trafficking in America's Schools Staff Development Series
To help provide educators an introduction to human trafficking prevention, the U.S. Department developed a 3-part staff development series rooted in the latest research and best practice information available, while drawing from the wisdom of individuals with lived experience and trafficking advocates. This series included three brief videos that provide information key to identifying potential trafficking, generating appropriate school-level responses, and efforts to prevent trafficking of students. Each video includes comments by both content and lived experience subject matter experts, as well as reflection questions for educators to consider individually or as a group.

Human Trafficking in America's Schools, 2nd Edition
This guide provides awareness of the current prevalence of child trafficking and the forms it takes as well as information on risk factors and indicators of child trafficking.  The guide includes details about three prevention tiers and the implications for schools' role in addressing child trafficking and how the professional development of school staff and prevention education for students and families can reduce the likelihood of trafficking. The guide also includes details on how policies, protocols, and partnerships with other community sectors can help prevent trafficking.

Human Trafficking in America's Schools
This guide was developed to help school officials understand how human trafficking impacts schools; recognize the indicators of possible child trafficking; and develop policies, protocols, and partnerships to address and prevent the exploitation of children.

Human Trafficking Awareness for Educators
This training provides introductory information on child sex and labor trafficking, training educators and other school staff, building response protocols, youth development as a prevention strategy, and considerations around adopted specialized curricula on human trafficking.

Human Trafficking 101 for School Administrators and Staff
This resource offers a definition of human trafficking, a brief overview of who is at risk, and behavioral, physical, and social indicators of trafficking that might be observed by school personnel. It also includes the number to call to report suspected trafficking, and a reminder about the importance of engaging law enforcement in order to protect students' and staff's safety.

Human Trafficking Framework for Instructional Programming in Schools
This resource provides foundational information on trafficking and best practice suggestions for schools to address it.

FACT SHEET: President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons | The White House
This fact sheet highlights the Administration's accomplishments through the work of various agency and departments in addressing human trafficking from 2021 and as well as list specific agency plans and activities for 2022.

Sex Trafficking and Adolescents: What Adults Need to Know
This online training tool helps educators and professionals in other youth-serving systems understand key definitions and concepts related to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, factors that can place young people at higher risk, and implications for youth education and service needs. This two-part series also looks at the emerging trend of youth trafficking their peers and ways adults working with young people can incorporate sex trafficking awareness, prevention, and intervention strategies into their programs.

Research Briefs & Reports

Addressing the Growing Problem of Domestic Sex Trafficking in Minors through Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
The aim of this practice brief is to highlight the broader issue of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) and suggest a framework for integrating school-based prevention and intervention strategies through Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). It provides a brief review of DMST and connections to PBIS and discusses how actions within the PBIS framework may help prevent DMST and aid student victims and their families.

Sex Trafficking of Minors: What Schools Need to Know to Recognize and Respond to the Trafficking of Students
This resource provides educators with an overview of minor sex trafficking and suggests steps that schools can take to respond, including training staff to recognize signs, developing protocols for responding to suspected or disclosed trafficking, and prevention curricula for students. This tip sheet also suggests ways that state coordinators for homeless education and local homeless education liaisons can help guide efforts within schools to address trafficking.

Webinars

Addressing Human Trafficking in America's Schools Staff Development Series
To help provide educators an introduction to human trafficking prevention, the U.S. Department developed a 3-part staff development series rooted in the latest research and best practice information available, while drawing from the wisdom of individuals with lived experience and trafficking advocates. This series included three brief videos that provide information key to identifying potential trafficking, generating appropriate school-level responses, and efforts to prevent trafficking of students. Each video includes comments by both content and lived experience subject matter experts, as well as reflection questions for educators to consider individually or as a group.

Identifying and Supporting Students Affected by Human Trafficking
This webinar provides building-level administrators, teachers, and specialized instructional support personnel with information on how they can effectively identify, and support students impacted by trafficking activity.

Human Trafficking: Online Safety
The webinar provides administrators, teachers, and specialized instructional support personnel, parents, caregivers, and students with trauma-informed and survivor-centered strategies for protecting students from falling prey to online trafficking activity.

Addressing Human Trafficking: An Expanded Look at Online Safety
This webinar provides includes a deeper discussion of topics raised by past participants in a previous webinar on strategies for protecting students from falling prey to online trafficking activity. The webinar is designed to provide administrators, teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, parents, caregivers, and students with trauma-informed and survivor-centered information to help protect students from online trafficking activity.

Universal Prevention

Guides & Training Tools

Human Trafficking in America's Schools, 2nd Edition
This guide provides awareness of the current prevalence of child trafficking and the forms it takes as well as information on risk factors and indicators of child trafficking.  The guide includes details about three prevention tiers and the implications for schools' role in addressing child trafficking and how the professional development of school staff and prevention education for students and families can reduce the likelihood of trafficking. The guide also includes details on how policies, protocols, and partnerships with other community sectors can help prevent trafficking.

Human Trafficking in America's Schools
This guide was developed to help school officials understand how human trafficking impacts schools; recognize the indicators of possible child trafficking; and develop policies, protocols, and partnerships to address and prevent the exploitation of children.

College and University Toolkit
This resource offers tips and resources on how to engage campuses in the fight against human trafficking. The resource includes posters to display in dorms, public areas of campus, and around the community; social action projects that address labor trafficking; and signs of potential trafficking recruitment students may experience online and in person.

FACT SHEET: President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons | The White House
This fact sheet highlights the Administration's accomplishments through the work of various agency and departments in addressing human trafficking from 2021 and as well as list specific agency plans and activities for 2022.

Research Briefs & Reports

Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links Among Multiple Forms of Violence
This brief provides an overview of the evidence connecting different forms of violence, including human trafficking, and provides a community-wide framework for preventing violence. This report highlights research linking students' connection to schools as a protective factor, and how schools can support whole-family needs to reduce risks for violent victimization.

Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices
This resource outlines the best current evidence on how communities can prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) and its consequences across the lifespan. IPV is closely linked to other forms of violence, including trafficking. Evidence-based prevention strategies include approaches that schools are uniquely positioned to implement, such as teaching safe and healthy relationship skills; engaging influential adults and peers; disrupting the developmental pathways toward violence; and creating protective environments.

Webinars

Addressing Human Trafficking in America's Schools Staff Development Series
To help provide educators an introduction to human trafficking prevention, the U.S. Department developed a 3-part staff development series rooted in the latest research and best practice information available, while drawing from the wisdom of individuals with lived experience and trafficking advocates. This series included three brief videos that provide information key to identifying potential trafficking, generating appropriate school-level responses, and efforts to prevent trafficking of students. Each video includes comments by both content and lived experience subject matter experts, as well as reflection questions for educators to consider individually or as a group.

Effective Engagement of Individuals with Lived Experience
This webinar addresses how school communities can enhance existing trafficking prevention efforts by effectively engaging survivors of trafficking, referred to often as those with lived experience. Such efforts are central to a well-informed, trauma-sensitive, and wholistic approach to preventing trafficking. Specific strategies of meaningful outreach, engagement, and sustained partnership with survivors of trafficking were shared.

Human Trafficking: Online Safety
The webinar provides administrators, teachers, and specialized instructional support personnel, parents, caregivers, and students with trauma-informed and survivor-centered strategies for protecting students from falling prey to online trafficking activity.

Addressing Human Trafficking: An Expanded Look at Online Safety
This webinar provides includes a deeper discussion of topics raised by past participants in a previous webinar on strategies for protecting students from falling prey to online trafficking activity. The webinar is designed to provide administrators, teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, parents, caregivers, and students with trauma-informed and survivor-centered information to help protect students from online trafficking activity.

Vulnerable Populations

Guides & Training Tools

Combating Trafficking: Native Youth Toolkit on Human Trafficking
Offers culturally sensitive information to Native American youth on human trafficking, ways to protect themselves and their friends, staying safe online, and fighting trafficking in the community. The toolkit describes where trafficking happens, and why it is hard to leave, and offers social media resources for American Indian and Alaska Native youth.

Research Briefs & Reports

Human Trafficking in Youth-serving Programs: A Blueprint for Organizations Working with Street Youth, Homeless Youth, and Youth at Risk
This resource provides information on how runaway and homeless youth are recruited into labor and sex trafficking, risk and protective factors, and understanding victim-centered, trauma-informed approaches to working with youth who have been trafficked. The report offers tips for safety planning, screening for history of trafficking, and understanding and addressing the needs of victims. Cites research demonstrating that caring adults and high school graduation are protective factors against trafficking.

Webinars

Addressing Human Trafficking: Supporting Vulnerable Populations and Effectively Reintegrating Students
This webinar focuses on efforts communities have taken to (1) address the needs of particularly vulnerable populations and (2) employ strategies to reintegrate students into the educational setting after extraction from trafficking. Featured speakers describe targeted supports to students impacted by the trauma of human trafficking. The content of the webinar is intended to provide administrators, teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, parents, caregivers, and students with trauma-informed and survivor-centered information to help schools effectively address trafficking activity.