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San Diego Board of Education: Teach students about the dangers of human traffiking

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A study done by University of San Diego with Point Loma Nazarene University shows that approximately 8,830 - 11,773 people (mostly underage girls) fall victim to human trafficking in the last 5 years in just San Diego County. Another study shows that of 20 high schools interviewed within the San Diego County District, 18 schools reported that they had documentation of victims of Human Trafficking within their school.  Within that, there were 81 victims, with 54 additional possible victims. Through these schools, 17 human trafficking recruiters were found. Now, you may be wondering what human trafficking is:

Human trafficking is defined as all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders, through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or other debt bondage.

15-year-old girls, mainly from broken families, are being targeted by young men online posing as potential boyfriends. In one case a young girl was contacted over 5,000 times on a social media platform when she finally gave in and agreed to meet the young man, she ended up a victim of forced prostitution.

Recently, schools have been implementing a pilot program to educate the teachers of these schools the signs that a child is being targeted and to tell if students may have already been forced into labor or prostitution. These include falling asleep in class, missing class on Mondays or Fridays, new clothes, new tattoos, new phones, or having an older boyfriend picking them up from school. However, I think that we should take it one step further. We should start educating the students in the San Diego public school system of the signs that a predator is targeting them, how to thwart these attempts, as well as what to do if you are already in these situations/ the resources available to you.

The way I plan on doing this is by asking the Superintendent of the San Diego Board of Education to add a unit on Human Trafficking in any current events class a school may be offering, as well as making a safe space for students to go to during and after school hours.

I feel that this is very important for students, specifically young women, all over San Diego to be educated on. Human Trafficking and forced labor is a real problem in San Diego that is not often talked about. In fact, everyone who I have talked to within my community has little to no information on what human trafficking is. As a 15-year-old girl, I am worried about people as young as me, and upset for what they have to endure every day. I think that by adding a unit to the curriculum we could not only educate students in addition to the teachers but also help some young women out of a terrible situation.


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