In a bold move earlier this month, Florida’s State Board of Education voted unanimously to require schools to teach human trafficking prevention in all K-12 schools.
Governor Ron DeSantis commented, “Tragically, human trafficking is an epidemic in our country. Children of all ages need to know and understand the hazards of human trafficking and how to protect themselves from dangerous predators.”
The commissioner requires Florida schools to provide their implementation plan by Dec. 1. Additionally, they must post an implementation plan to the school’s website for parents to review. Specifically, this plan must include the professional qualifications for the person tasked with teaching. Also, it must outline the materials, resources, and instruction type that will be used for each grade.
Students will only be able to opt out of this teaching with signed, parental consent.
Schools must submit documentation verifying completion of the prevention training annually by July 1.
Geoff Rogers, CEO and co-founder of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, commented, “Florida continues to lead the nation in the fight against human trafficking by being the first state in the country to mandate every student in K-12 to receive child trafficking prevention and require every school in the state to declare itself a child trafficking free zone.”
How Is Human Trafficking Defined
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is the means by which individuals are forcibly or fraudulently coerced into some type of labor or sex act. However, sex trafficking is the most reported form of trafficking reported.
Several factors contribute to the likelihood that an individual will be targeted for trafficking. For some, they may have endured economic hardship or a natural disaster. Others, however, are targeted for appearing mentally or emotionally unstable or for lacking a secured, social circle.
How Big Is the Problem?
A common misconception is that human trafficking only happens in poverty-stricken countries. But research has concluded otherwise.
—Florida ranks third in the nation for human trafficking, according to the Human Trafficking Hotline.
—Of the estimated 30 million people world-wide enslaved in human trafficking, 2.5 million of them live in America, per the Florida Department of Education.
—One out of 7 endangered runaway youth is likely a victim of human trafficking, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
—In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received 10,949 calls. Of them, 7,859 were sex-trafficking related, per the hotline’s website.
—Since 2012, each of Florida’s counties have reported at least one case of human trafficking, also according to the Human Trafficking Hotline’s website.
—For sexual exploitation reasons, one child is trafficked every two minutes. This is according to the U.S. Department of Justice, cited at the Florida Department of Education’s website.
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SOURCE: Charisma News, Luke Gibbons