Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the exploitation of persons for labor or commercial sex. Those who recruit minors for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation violate anti-trafficking laws, even if there is no force, fraud or coercion.
Trafficking can involve school-age youth, particularly those made vulnerable by challenging family situations, and can take a variety of forms including forced labor, domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution).
The children at risk are not just high school students; studies show that the average age a child is trafficked into the commercial sex trade is between 11 and 14 years old. Traffickers may target minor victims through social media websites, telephone chat-lines, after school programs or through other students who are used by the traffickers to recruit other victims.
Reporting Suspected Human Trafficking
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733) to get help or connect with a service provider in your area. The center is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a non-governmental organization.
Links with this icon leave the Virginia Department of Education website and visit an external resource.
Information for Educators
- Human Trafficking 101 for School Administrators & Staff (PDF) – US Department of Homeland Security (USDHS)
- Human Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Fact Sheet for Schools – US Department of Education (USED)
- Sex Trafficking of Minors: What Schools Need to Know to Recognize and Respond to the Trafficking of Students (PDF) – National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)
- Human Trafficking in America’s Schools (PDF) – National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, US Department of Education (USED)
Outreach & Awareness Materials (posters, fliers, brochures)
- Promotional Materials – posters, bookmarks, brochures, wallet cards, stickers, pencils with crisis line number from the National Runaway Safeline
- Public Awareness Materials – resource pack includes National Human Trafficking Resource Center flyer in multiple languages and information on ways to publicize the hotline number from the Polaris Project
- Look Below the Surface: Human Trafficking is Modern Day Slavery (PDF) – poster from the Virginia Department of Labor & Industry
- Blue Campaign Resource Catalog – includes newsletter, posters, pamphlets, shoe cards, tear cards from US Department of Homeland Security (USDHS)
Resources for Victims
- Human Trafficking Resources for Victims Services – Virginia Department of Criminal Justice (DCJS)
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center – Polaris Project
- Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program – US Department of Health & Human Services
- Gray Haven Drop-In Center – for those impacted by human trafficking, the Central Virginia center provides a location where clients can come to receive support, search and apply for jobs, spend time with a mentor, spend time with other clients, and receive additional services they may need.
Training & Technical Assistance Resources