California Educator

June / July 2018

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How to help students who may be victims of sex trafficking By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman H A V E O N E O R M O R E of y o ur stu d ent s suddenly started sporting designer shoes and bags? Or maybe you see that they're now han- dling two cellphones? Or perhaps you've noticed a new tattoo with someone's name or initials, on their chest, neck or elsewhere? These students may be victims of sex trafficking, defined as exploiting someone through force, fraud and coercion for the purpose of commercial sex. It's an epidemic in California, which has the highest number of incidents reported in the U.S., and many juvenile victims are enrolled in the American school system, according to a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Education, "Human Trafficking in America's Schools." While the term "sex trafficking" conjures up images of someone being kidnapped and sent to a foreign country, such as in the movie Taken, most incidents are domes- tic. Sex trafficking is just one form of human trafficking, A VILE EPIDEMIC Rickeena Boyd-Kamei, left, and Heather Hoffman at a training for educators at San Diego High School on how to recognize signs of trafficking and what to do. 22 Feature

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