Human Trafficking: In our Neighborhoods and In our Schools

Human Trafficking. It happens here in America, in our own neighborhoods. It doesn’t just happen in foreign countries, but it is very prevalent here where we live, specifically sex trafficking.

Not all traffickers are adults: A suburban Minneapolis high school cheerleader was arrested for allegedly recruiting and pimping a younger student by creating an online ad and driving the victim to potential customers. —Star Tribune

A man from Millington, Tennessee, was accused of trafficking girls as young as 15. He reportedly used a boy under the age of 18 to help recruit girls from local high schools. The boy was paid $20 for every $100 the girls brought in. —

Traffickers may systematically target vulnerable children by frequenting locations where children congregate—malls, schools, bus and train stations, and group homes, among other locations. With the advent of social media, traffickers recruit through Facebook and other Internet sites. They also use peers or classmates, who befriend the target and slowly groom the child for the trafficker by bringing the child along to parties and other activities.

Child trafficking is not solely a school issue; it is a community issue that impacts schools. Therefore, it is recommended that all members of the community play a role in protecting students. To prevent the trafficking of children, community members first need to admit the problem exists and then commit to educating other community members and increasing awareness of the impact of the problem. Standing up to child trafficking also means equipping leaders with the resources to have an authentic dialog about the issue—including demand—in their neighborhoods, jurisdictions, constituencies, or school districts and giving these leaders the tools to work toward solutions.

Schools should partner with their school boards, service providers, governmental agencies, and local law enforcement partners to identify the nature, scope, and prevalence of child trafficking in their communities. By getting other partners involved, schools will create safer campuses and increase the chances for academic, social, and psychological student success. These same partners should work collaboratively to develop a comprehensive prevention awareness program targeted at students and parents, alerting them to the nature and danger of child trafficking, as well as to develop protocols for dealing with the crime and providing services to victims.

Read full article Human Trafficking in America’s Schools

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