If you’ve followed our blog at all throughout our 2019 postings, you’ll be very familiar with human and sex trafficking. We’ve gone into great detail about what a massive problem it is in our country and our state. If you think it’s not going on in your own community, chances are that you’re wrong.
Florida struggles with this crisis more than almost any other state in our country. Our state is in the top 3 for states most affected by trafficking. We rank third for reported human trafficking cases. It looks like lawmakers and the Florida Board of Education are stepping up to make a change.
Board of Education Passes New Child Trafficking Education Rule
As of this month, Florida will be the first and only state in the nation requiring sex and child trafficking education in every curriculum. Every student in the state of Florida will be learning about trafficking and how they can hopefully avoid it. What exactly does this mean?
All school districts will be implementing age-appropriate lessons about the risks, indicators and dangers of sex trafficking. This will be a swift process too, as all schools are required to have selected an approved curriculum for their schools by December 1st. All Florida teachers will be provided with training on how best to educate their students at a level they can understand.
It’s critical that our students understand how to guard themselves against people who want to take advantage of them. The curriculum will help educate students on recognizing dangerous situations before they’re involved. It’ll also teach them how to report inappropriate behavior to the right authorities if they’re already victims.
The Role of Education in Fighting Trafficking
What will this education look like? As mentioned, the goal is to provide age-appropriate lessons to Florida students. At a Kindergarten level, you can expect teachers to educate their students on how safe and unsafe adults might treat them. If children are being touched by adults in an unsafe way, they’ll be taught how important it is to let someone trusted know.
The material will grow alongside the students. By high school, the lessons will be much more open on the topic of sex trafficking. Students will learn how to recognize the tactics that traffickers employ. They’ll be taught to recognize a dangerous situation before they’re ever involved.
Sex trafficking disproportionately affects girls and women. The statistics for Florida provided by the National Human Trafficking Hotline make this clear:
- In 2018, 767 trafficking cases were reported in the state of Florida
- 528, or 68.8%, of these reports involved women or girls
For this reason, a special focus in the trafficking education will be building up female self-esteem. Traffickers look for victims that are vulnerable and filled with self-doubt. According to Elizabeth Good, co-founder of Selah Freedom, traffickers are far less likely to prey on confident girls.
How Can We Help?
This new rule passed by the Board of Education is an important step in fighting back against the human trafficking crisis. The more we learn and the more our children learn, the better equipped we are to end this abuse.
That’s why our firm has made the Sex Trafficking Crisis our focus for the year of 2019. We believe that education leads to action. That’s also why we partnered with One More Child to host events educating our community about the problem taking place in their own backyards.
How can you get involved? The first step is in educating yourself about the problem. We’ve posted several articles on our blog about the size of the trafficking problem and tips for keeping your child safe online. This is only the start. There are hundreds of valuable resources online that will help you learn more:
- The National Human Trafficking Hotline’s statistics on the state of Florida
- The Florida Department of Education’s webpage about child human trafficking
- The Polaris Project
And there are so many more. If you want to get involved, we recommend you reach out to One More Child. This is a fantastic organization that we’ve worked closely with this year. They would be an excellent resource for learning about how you can turn your education into action.
The problem won’t be solved overnight. With time, and as people learn more about the crisis, we will see momentum continue to build. This required trafficking curriculum in Florida is an encouraging step on the journey to ending trafficking, nation and worldwide, and we hope you’ll join us in the fight.