Perry Thurston files bill to teach human trafficking awareness in schools

International Human Right day Concept: Women with her hand extended signaling to stop
The curriculum would include spotting the signs and finding resources for help.

One day after Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Sen. Perry Thurston filed a bill that would require Florida schools to educate students on how to spot signs of human trafficking.

The Human Trafficking in Schools bill, SB 554, would add the “dangers and signs” of human trafficking to the current state’s health education requirements.

The bill sets a specific minimum curriculum for human trafficking awareness and goes beyond defining it by also requiring educators to provide resources.

The curriculum would include how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and direct students to resources at the national, state and local level. It also would require educators to teach the prevalence and nature of human trafficking, strategies to reduce risk and techniques on how to set boundaries and safely ask for help.

In an effort to protect students, the bill would require education on how social media and mobile apps are used for human trafficking.

It also would require education on preventing alcohol, nicotine and drug abuse.

The current state health education curriculum does not require any information on human trafficking.

Thurston filed the bill immediately after the state recognized Human Trafficking Awareness Day by lighting the Capitol blue. 

On Monday, Attorney General Ashley Moody joined anti-trafficking organization “It’s a Penalty,” to warn about the risks as the 2021 Super Bowl approaches in Tampa.

Florida ranks third in the nation in reported cases of human trafficking, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Nearly 900 human trafficking cases were reported in Florida in 2019.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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