How Does Human Trafficking Affect Our Schools?

Trafficking can involve school-age children—particularly those not living with their parents—who are vulnerable to coerced labor exploitation, domestic servitude, or commercial sexual exploitation (i.e., prostitution). Sex traffickers target children because of their vulnerability and gullibility, as well as the market demand for young victims. Those who recruit minors into prostitution violate federal anti-trafficking laws, even if there is no coercion or movement across state lines. The children at risk are not just high school students—studies demonstrate that pimps prey on victims as young as 12. Traffickers have been reported targeting their minor victims through telephone chat-lines, clubs, on the street, through friends, and at malls, as well as using girls to recruit other girls at schools and after-school programs.

On December 3rd, 2018 the Atlanta Board of Education unanimously adopted the first Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Policy. Board Member Erika Y. Mitchell, in collaboration with Youth Sparks, developed the proposed policy for Atlanta Public School (APS) and the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking proposed protocol. The proposed policy and protocol was presented to the APS administration, government agencies, and community members for input on October 3rd, 2018.

Now Atlanta Public Schools is the first school district to have two Board policies for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. Board Policy (JGBA) Student Support Services – Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking and Board Policy (JGIA) Child Abuse or Neglect – Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking are the two policies.

The Atlanta Board of Education authorize their district administration to develop regulations and/or protocols for in school response teams and care systems to help student victims and prevention.