humanTraffickinginAmericasSchools

An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked globally every year, often for forced labor and commercial sex, and the problem is acute in the United States. This week, the U.S. Department of Education launched a tool to combat the devastating practice: a new guide for educators to spot and help prevent the modern-day slave trade in schools.

“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 in a statement. “Human trafficking robs young people of a life that is filled with hope. The Department stands with its other federal and non-profit partners…in helping these young people return to safe, supportive homes and schools.”

The free guide, “Human Trafficking in America’s Schools,” includes information about risk factors, recruitment, and warning signs; what to do if you suspect trafficking, including sample school protocols and policies; and other resources and potential partnership opportunities.

Perhaps more importantly, the department has partnered with a sister agency and a non-profit to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness and preventing human trafficking among youth.

“It’s critical for us to raise awareness of trafficking among adolescents because we know traffickers intentionally target youth,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Mark Greenberg said in a statement. “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.”

The youth campaign asks high school students to ponder what they would miss about their lives if they were a victim of trafficking and post their thoughts on social media using the hashtag #WhatIWouldMiss.

For additional information, visit: www.StudentsOpposingSlavery.org/WhatIWouldMiss. To download a copy of the guide, visit:  http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/human-trafficking-americas-schools.