Educating students about sex trafficking and responding to students’ needs: Principals’ perceptions and practices

Cynthia F. Rizo*, L. B. Klein, Brittney R. Chesworth, Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen, Melissa L. Villodas, Rebecca J. Macy, Sandra L. Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is growing interest in educating youth about sex trafficking, coupled with a recognition that both traditional and alternative schools are promising venues for addressing sex trafficking and reaching students with such content. As principals play a key role in determining the programming and protocols in their schools, the current investigation surveyed principals in traditional and alternative public schools in one southeastern state regarding: (a) their perceptions on sex trafficking and the role of schools in teaching about and responding to sex trafficking; (b) their school’s current efforts to teach about and respond to sex trafficking; (c) the preparedness of their school personnel for handling sex trafficking concerns, identifications, or disclosures; (d) their perceived challenges to educating youth about sex trafficking in schools; and (e) their recommendations for educating youth about sex trafficking in schools. Responses from 76 principals illuminate schools’ limited efforts to teach about and respond to sex trafficking, as well as challenges related to school personnel preparedness for addressing sex trafficking. The study offers preliminary guidance for educating youth about sex trafficking in schools and stresses the importance of ensuring that school personnel are knowledgeable about sex trafficking and well prepared to handle sex trafficking concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-223
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Human Trafficking
Volume7
Issue number2
Early online date18 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • domestic minor sex trafficking
  • education
  • principals
  • school
  • sex trafficking
  • youth

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