State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today recognized January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking is a pandemic that crosses all demographic, racial, and socioeconomic lines.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, California had the highest number of reported human trafficking incidents in the country in 2018, and sex trafficking is the leading type of trafficking in the state.
“Vulnerability is the one thing that all trafficked victims have in common,” said Thurmond. “School campuses provide opportunities for predators posing as friends and peers to prey on students—especially homeless, foster, and LGBTQ youth—who may be experiencing instability, isolation, alienation, and bullying. It is imperative that the entire school community knows how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, has prevention and intervention tools in place, and utilizes available resources to protect students from being victimized.”