This fall the State Board of Education passed a new rule requiring instruction in child trafficking prevention for students in grades K-12. This makes Florida the first state in the nation to pass such a measure, the State Board reports, critically important given that Florida is third in the nation for the number of reported cases of human trafficking. And, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one out of eight endangered runaway youth is likely a victim of human trafficking.
Kristi House has been delivering trafficking prevention and awareness programs to adults and children since it began Project GOLD, its trafficking program for girls, in 2007. In fact, 14,444 adults and kids have been logged in 863 hours of instruction since that time, with education and outreach largely supported by the U.S. Department of Justice and private foundations.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho recognizes the prevalence of child trafficking in South Florida, and Kristi House’s experience in this arena. As a result, we have entered into a district-wide Affiliated Agreement to deliver our education programs in MDCPS, as well provide in-school-based services for those child-victims who cannot get to a Kristi House location.
One of the newest programs Kristi House will bring to students is “Not a Number,” which is an evidence-based child trafficking and exploitation prevention curriculum. The interactive, five-module program is designed to teach youth—especially those at high risk—how to protect themselves from human trafficking and exploitation through awareness, critical thinking, and skill development.
Kristi House therapists and educators underwent three days of training in August to become Certified Facilitators for program, and are receiving ongoing support from its developers. We have already begun delivering Not a Number to at-risk youth groups and to Project GOLD girls involved in or at risk for commercial sexual exploitation. We look forward to bringing this and other training programs to Miami-Dade County Public School students, and salute our Superintendent for his leadership.