U.S. Department of Education to Host Discussion on Federal Agencies’ Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of School-Aged Youths

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The U.S. Department of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, is hosting a discussion on the work of federal agencies to combat human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of American school-aged youths. The event— “Bought, Sold, Beaten and Abused: Working Together to End the Trafficking of American School-Aged Youth”—will take place on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the U.S. Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Representatives from several federal agencies will discuss the nature and extent of the problem, their work with state and local officials to raise awareness and end human trafficking, and resources available to schools.

At least 100,000 children across the country are sexually exploited each year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center also reports that “…the sexual victimization of children is overwhelming in magnitude yet largely unrecognized and underreported. Research indicates that one in five girls and one in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before adulthood.”

The Administration has made efforts to confront and combat this “modern-day slavery.” Last September, President Obama announced several new initiatives, including a $6 million grant, to address human trafficking. The Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) offers school districts several resources to address child trafficking, including a fact sheet describing how human trafficking affects schools, tips regarding signs about which school staff should be aware, steps to use for reporting incidents of trafficking, and a Web page that provides districts with up-to-date information and consolidated resources relevant to child trafficking. In addition, OSHS is working to develop a resource guide to provide school personnel with tools to better identify and serve victims and students who are vulnerable to trafficking recruitment.

Reporters wishing to attend the discussion must RSVP no later than 5 p.m. ET, today, Feb. 5, to [email protected]. In the subject line, please type “Child Trafficking.”