Written by Maisha Ahmed and edited by Kavitha Mathivarnan
Human trafficking often targets many young people, many of which are students, thus making it worthwhile for teachers to learn how they can help prevent trafficking. If professionals in schools are well prepared and informed on how to prevent human trafficking, they will be able to better combat the problem.
The first step for educators looking to help this issue should be to simply get informed. For example, schools can use the United States Board of Education’s report on human trafficking framework to ensure their teachers are aware. This framework explains that teachers can help by supporting at-risk students who are potential victims (Getting Trained). Teachers can support these students by guiding them to various community resources- such as mental health services or child protection services- to make them less susceptible to trafficking.
Teachers can also support their students to become more conscious of the problem themselves. Students who are well-informed on human trafficking schemes are better prepared to avoid them. One method for informing students on human trafficking is using educational programs that aim to empower youth, such as Project PAVE or The Prevention Project (Getting Trained). Additionally, teachers can also incorporate discussions on privilege and power into their curriculum to promote an understanding of how human trafficking targets those most vulnerable.
Teachers regularly see the same students and frequently form connections with youth, giving them a unique opportunity to become important figures in many lives. An important part of fulfilling that role is protecting their students. Education is an incredibly valuable tool in the fight against human trafficking and teachers who make human trafficking awareness a priority can enact great change.
“Getting Trained: How School Districts and Educators Can Combat Human
Trafficking.” Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, Combat Human Trafficking, 20
Sept. 2019, combathumantrafficking.org/2019/09/educators-trafficking/.
Lookadoo, Regan. “Human Trafficking and Teacher Awareness: Equipping Teachers
with Knowledge and Resources to Combat Human Trafficking.” Campbellsville
University, 27 July 2017, www.campbellsville.edu/blog/human-trafficking-teacher
Littrell, Jenee. U.S. Department of Education, 2015, Human Trafficking in America's Schools.