School Board Passes Resolution Recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January 07, 2021

The Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The resolution follows:
Human Trafficking Awareness Month Recognition
           WHEREAS, human trafficking remains a largely unperceived threat to the students of Fairfax County, misunderstood and under-appreciated by a majority of the community, despite its persistence and prevalence across the nation and in our county, still on track to eclipse drug trafficking by revenue generated in the near future, with growing evidence that criminal organizations are specifically targeting Northern Virginia as an especially lucrative market; and
          WHEREAS, human traffickers are known to target not only middle and high school teens but even elementary school students, so that victims have been identified from every high school and multiple middle and elementary schools across the county, with teens and younger children stalked physically at locations such as shopping malls and bus stops and on-line through all social media, particularly those applications that offer anonymity; and
          WHEREAS, new trafficking victims continue to come from a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and many students do not recognize the warning signs when they or their friends are being groomed and manipulated by new so-called “friends” until it is too late to escape, with victims trapped by threats of violence or exposure and often by physical abuse; and
          WHEREAS, Fairfax County Public Schools continue to teach a widely admired teen sex trafficking prevention curriculum in grades six through twelve, which serves as a model for other jurisdictions and has made notable progress in raising awareness of the threat and steps students can take to mitigate it; and
          WHEREAS, student groups at an increasing number of Fairfax County high schools and middle schools have held campaigns to raise awareness about teen sex trafficking and activate thousands of teens, and as a direct result of these campaigns new leads have been brought to the attention of law enforcement authorities and victims have been rescued; and
          WHEREAS, alongside these student groups, educators, parents, medical professionals, law enforcement officials, civic organizations, and the business community have all stepped forward to emphasize the importance of bringing awareness about teen sex trafficking to young people and desire to further mobilize students and others in the community to progress toward an environment where this crime is not tolerated and its victims receive the full support of the community;
          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Fairfax County School Board joins the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in recognizing the month of January 2021 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Fairfax County and supports the efforts of all those who are seeking to eliminate human trafficking and its impact on our community.