California Makes Human Trafficking Education Mandatory

Forced LaborHuman TraffickingLaw & PolicyPrevention

California is implementing new laws that require teachers be trained to educate their students on human trafficking and how to get help if they are in a dangerous situation.

SI News reports that this is initiative aims to make teachers first responders:

California . . . requires teachers to receive training to help them identify children at risk of both sex and labor trafficking, and learn where to refer them for help.

Classroom sessions include discussing age-appropriate information about HIV/AIDS prevention, reproductive health, sexual assault and harassment, healthy relationships, consent, positive affirmation of LGBTQ+ orientations and human trafficking. These lessons have been compulsory since 2016, reported The East Bay Times.

“The whole idea was let’s look at teachers as first responders in the classroom,” said Ashlie Bryant, president and co-founder of 3Strands Global Foundation, a coalition of nonprofits that created the curriculum and sponsored the Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act.

In ninth grade, for example, students would learn about “Romeo’ pimps who feign romantic interest to lure in vulnerable children, ‘guerilla’ traffickers who use force and coercion, and fake businessmen who promise modeling careers that lead to sex slavery.”

These lessons are extremely sensitive, especially for students who have had these experiences or know others who have been exploited. Teresa Marquez, director of instruction and curriculum, noted that this is why teachers need training on how to deal with potential trafficking cases. “It can be highly triggering for a student who may have had that experience, so we need a lot of training for our teachers so they’re equipped to deliver the content and be prepared for what happens if a kid acts in a certain way,” she said.

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