SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson recognized National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Thursday and applauded the Governor and the Legislature for passing a law making California the first state to adopt human trafficking training for teachers and students.
“Human trafficking is a tragedy that traumatizes and damages its victims, often for the rest of their lives,” said Torlakson. “Too often this type of criminal exploitation goes unnoticed. This new law provides training and support to help school administrators, teachers, and support staff prevent students from becoming victims, identify students who may be victims of human trafficking, and turn schools into a safe refuge.”
The Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act, Assembly Bill 1227, sponsored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, was signed by Governor Brown last year and took effect on January 1 of this year.
AB 1227 requires school districts to include labor and sexual human trafficking prevention education in grades seven through twelve as part of comprehensive sexual health education and requires human trafficking awareness training for school district staff.
Recent human trafficking statistics indicate how critical this type of education and prevention training is:
– Two million children are trafficked every year, including an estimated 100,000 in the United States.
– In 2016, 1 in 6 of the runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
– California has the highest number of human trafficking cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
“Human trafficking is a global issue that affects victims from all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and age groups,” Torlakson said. “Some predators are using public schools as a new hunting ground. As educators, we need to do everything we can to prevent our students from being victimized.”
The U.S. Senate designated January 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in 2007. In 2010, a Presidential proclamation declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.
To learn more about programs that meet the training requirements for school personnel, please visit the CDE Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Web page.