SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Thursday recognized January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking is a pandemic that crosses all demographic, racial, and socioeconomic lines.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, California had the highest number of reported human trafficking incidents in the country in 2018, and sex trafficking is the leading type of trafficking in the state.
“Vulnerability is the one thing that all trafficked victims have in common,” said Thurmond. “School campuses provide opportunities for predators posing as friends and peers to prey on students—especially homeless, foster, and LGBTQ youth—who may be experiencing instability, isolation, alienation, and bullying. It is imperative that the entire school community knows how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, has prevention and intervention tools in place, and utilizes available resources to protect students from being victimized.”
In January 2019, AB 1227 (Bonta), the Human Trafficking Prevention, Education, and Training Act, became law and made California the first state to adopt human trafficking training for teachers and students. The law requires school districts to include 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.
In May 2019, the State Board of Education approved the Health Education Framework, which includes sex trafficking prevention education. The framework provides guidance for teachers and administrators on how to teach the current Health Education Content Standards.
Recent human trafficking statistics indicate how critical education and prevention training is:
· The United Nations reported that nearly 1.8 million children are trafficked into the global sex trade.
· Young girls and women are 55 percent of the forced labor victims and 98 percent of the sex trafficking victims.
· In the U.S. and Canada, nearly one-fifth of homeless youth are victims of human trafficking.
· 40 percent of homeless youth served by national agencies identify as LGBTQ.
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.
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s website.