School is starting! You may be ecstatic, or perhaps it’s a stressful time of organizing schedules, buying school supplies, and picking out new shoes. However, whether you’re a parent or a teacher, as you prepare you can include some simple safety planning to make a difference this school year.
Why is this necessary? Youth are frequently targeted and often lured by traffickers at places like parks, malls, bus stops and schools. Traffickers may recruit on or near campus, and even convince students to recruit other students:
A man in Tennessee accused of trafficking girls as young as 15 reportedly used an underage boy to help recruit the girls from local high schools. The boy was paid $20 for every $100 the girls brought in.
Teachers, be aware of risk factors. School personnel likely interact daily with children at risk of exploitation. As such, they can stop trafficking by recognizing risk factors, noticing the signs, and reporting their concerns. The following risk factors makes children vulnerable to traffickers:
Though there’s no guaranteed profile of a trafficked person, the signs below may serve as red flags of possible victimization. If you spot a few of the signs below and have any suspicion of trafficking, you could save a life by reporting your concerns:
Report what you see to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center:
BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL: IDEAS FOR PARENTS
Make sure your child is always accompanied by a trusted friend or adult going to and from school and extracurricular activities
Mutually establish at least 3 trusted adults with whom your child can speak openly – include at least 1 non-family member
Be attentive to your child’s Internet activities – many traffickers build relationships with victims online
Pay attention to the signs that your child or their friends may be groomed or trafficked
- Help vulnerable children stay in school! When buying school supplies, purchase an extra set of each item and speak to the school’s principal about anonymously donating them to a student in need.
THINK YOU CAN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
A Kentucky couple was charged with human trafficking after a school teacher recognized two of her students outside a movie theater dressed provocatively and being offered for sexual services by their father. Because of her report, these girls will now know freedom. Whether you’re a parent, principal, or a concerned member of the community, you can be the missing link between victims and rescue.
Dare to know. Dare to hope. YOU can make a difference.