Human Trafficking of School-aged Children
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.
A Form of Abuse
Human trafficking is defined as a form of abuse or neglect under the 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 provides a foundation for you to recognize and report suspected human trafficking.
No Human Trafficking Signage
No Human Trafficking Signage pertaining to the criminal offenses of human trafficking is now available. TEA has three sample signs below (based on location) that the LEA may be used directly or as a template for local development.
No Human Trafficking Signage in English and Spanish (Perimeter) 12x18
Each school shall post warning signs at the following locations:
(1) parallel to and along the exterior boundaries of the school's premises;
(2) at each roadway or way of access to the premises;
(3) for premises not fenced, at least every five hundred feet along the exterior boundaries of the premises;
(4) at each entrance to the premises and building, and;
(5) at conspicuous places reasonably likely to be viewed by all persons entering the premises.
*Campuses have to put signs in place through the end of the 2022-23 school year and fulfill the sign mandate requirement.
Training and Resources
Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Webinar Series registration is open.
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 area.
- Introduction to Human Trafficking for Education Professionals: Texas RISE to the Challenge (PDF, 2193 KB)
- Introduction to Human Trafficking: A Guide for Texas Education Professionals (outside source)
- Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel (outside source)
- Prevention and Awareness: Human Trafficking of School-Aged Children — Texas Gateway Module
The purpose of this module is to assist and equip educators in meeting the training requirements for the Commissioner's Rule (TAC §61.1051) on reporting Child Abuse, Neglect, including Trafficking of a Child. Each district and open-enrollment charter school must maintain records that include the name of each staff member who participated in training (TAC §61.1051). It is the responsibility of the LEA to track the participation and completion of this training module locally.
Human Trafficking in America's Schools
Released by the U.S. Department of Education, this Human Trafficking in America's Schools 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:
Identification of 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