Add these duties to Ohio teachers’ job descriptions:
- Fight child sex trafficking
- Identify students who are at risk of being forced into prostitution and intervene
- Identify students who are currently involved in the sex trade and intervene
- Teach students how to avoid becoming involved in the sex trade
Those are among the recommendations presented this month by a state task force on human trafficking.
This report analyzes information provided by 115 people who became involved in the sex trade in Ohio while under the age of 18. It was authored by University of Toledo Professor Celia Williamson.
Among the findings in the report:
- People under 18 who become involved in the sex trade are likely to have had difficulty in school and/or dropped out of school.
- None of the 115 people surveyed reported receiving assistance from a teacher. (Probation officers, family friends and church members were more likely to have reached out to minor sex workers.)
- Teacher was among the 10 most common professions of those who purchased sex from people who began working in the sex trade before age 18, as reported by the sex workers themselves. About one-fifth of buyers were teachers, according to the report. (Also in the top ten buyer professions: law enforcement officiers and city employees.)
- Mandated education for youth in how to avoid victimization and how not to become a victimizer is needed to move toward prevention rather than reactive responses. Similar mandated education has been implemented around the state for dating violence. Sex trafficking poses as real of a danger as dating violence and youth should be equipped to understand the dangers of trafficking. In addition, males need to be sensitized at a young age on respect and how to avoid becoming the victimizer or a victim.
- Establish train the trainers for teachers, administrators and other school staff so that they can both recognize trafficking and high risk youth and also be able to integrate their knowledge base into the curriculum when needed. Although there has been progress within pockets of school districts, the majority of school districts in Ohio remain uneducated on the issue.
A 2010 report from the Attorney General’s office estimated that 1,000 Ohio children between 12 and 17 work in the sex trade in any given year.