A Parent's Guide to School Safety Toolkit

3.7 Human Trafficking

Students smiling, excited to go to class

Human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transporting, or procurement of a person for labor or services for the purpose of involuntary servitude, slavery, or forced commercial sex acts. While human trafficking is a global problem, it is also a Texas problem. All public schools must post warning signs visible both employees and visitors of the increased penalties for human trafficking.

In Texas, the Office of the Attorney General reports there are 79,000 victims of youth and minor sex trafficking at any given time. It is important for parents to monitor their child’s personal relationships and online activity.

Children and adolescents are more susceptible to becoming targets of human trafficking due to their use of various social media, gaming, and other online platforms. Traffickers are also spending more time online, and children and adolescents may not recognize the danger they are in.

Traffickers pose as friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends. It is important to watch for some of these potential indicators that your child may be a victim of human trafficking:

  • Has an older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’
  • Change in school attendance, friends, vocabulary, or demeanor
  • Sudden appearance of expensive, luxury items
  • Truancy from school
  • Tattoos or branding
  • Sexually provocative style of clothing
  • Multiple phones or dual or secret social media accounts
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Isolation from family, friends, and community

If you suspect a child is a victim of human trafficking, call:

  • 911 in case of emergency
  • Texas Department of Family Services at 1 (800)-252-5400
  • National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or text “Help” or “Info” to 233733