Human trafficking is the recruitment,
harboring, transporting, or procurement of a person for labor or services for
the purpose of involuntary servitude, slavery, or forced commercial sex acts. While human trafficking is a global problem,
it is also a Texas problem. School-aged
children are vulnerable to the manipulation and exploitation tactics of
traffickers. Unfortunately, law enforcement has confirmed cases of trafficking occurring on school
grounds, at school events, and even carried out by classmates.
Traffickers are brutal, and victims are
often subjected to serious, life-altering manipulation, and control through the
use of threats of violence, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, and
withholding of basic necessities. Many
children do continue to attend school while being trafficked, and as such, are
in contact with school personnel on a regular basis. This means that because of your role as an
education professional, you may be in a position to identify and report human
trafficking, thus facilitating the child’s rescue by law enforcement.
Form of Abuse
Human trafficking is defined as a form of
abuse or neglect under Texas
Family Code, Section 261.001. All individuals have a duty to immediately
report suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), but Texas Family Code, Section 261.101, requires education professionals to
do so within 48 hours of suspecting the abuse or neglect. As a school employee, your training on abuse
and neglect provide a foundation for you to recognize and report suspected human trafficking.
Recognizing the seriousness of the crime, its
effects on victims, families, and communities, and the unique position of
educators in the lives of children, the 83rd Texas Legislature
Bill 1272. This
law requires the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force (Task Force) to
work with TEA to develop a list of key indicators that a person is a victim of
human trafficking, develop a standardized curriculum and train school personnel
to identify and assist victims of human trafficking.
Texas RISE to the
Pursuant to the legislation, the Task Force,
in cooperation with TEA, has developed a training to meet the requirements of
HB 1272. The training, Introduction to Human Trafficking for
Education Professionals: Texas RISE to the Challenge, asks Texas education
professionals to RISE to the Challenge in addressing human trafficking.
The Texas RISE to the Challenge
training will provide school personnel with the tools needed to become familiar
with trafficking, trafficker tactics, risk factors of children, indicators of
trafficking, what to do when a child reports possible trafficking, and what
steps to take if you suspect trafficking.
This training will empower
education professionals to:
- Recognize risk factors and indicators related to
- Identify potential human trafficking victims and
report as legally required.
It will also provide a
- Share knowledge with colleagues, parents, and
community members, and
- Engage in local prevention efforts.
Training and Resources
Below is the Texas RISE to the Challenge training. Also included is a human trafficking manual
for school personnel developed by the Task Force. Additional resources may be available in your
Introduction to Human Trafficking for Education Professionals: Texas RISE to the Challenge (PDF, 2193 KB)
2) Introduction to Human Trafficking: A Guide for Texas Education Professionals (outside source)
Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel (outside source)
Human Trafficking in America's Schools - Released by the U.S. Department of Education, this guide helps school officials: understand how human trafficking impacts schools, recognize the indicators of possible child trafficking, and develop policies, protocols, and partnerships to address and prevent the exploitation of children.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration
of Children’s and Families, Children’s Bureau:
Sex Trafficking in Schools - https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=166&articleid=4465
possible human trafficking is important, but subsequent reporting is crucial. If you suspect a child is a victim of human
trafficking, please contact:
- 911 in case of emergency
- Local law enforcement, or
- DFPS at 1 (800)-252-5400