The San Mateo County Board of Education and Superintendent Nancy Magee adopted a resolution on January 15, 2020, recognizing January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Approximately 40 million people worldwide have been forced into human trafficking, 26 percent of whom are under the age of 18. More often than not, these victims include children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, youth who have run away or are homeless, and children without lawful immigration status.
To address this issue, the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) has partnered with Child and Family Services (CFS) to develop San Mateo County’s Human Trafficking Educator Protocol, which guides school personnel on how to respond when they have a student who is a suspected victim of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). SMCOE staff train school personnel on the warning signs and red flags of CSEC and how to utilize the protocol.
SMCOE informs districts and schools when a student of concern is identified and conducts an educational multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting to coordinate efforts to support the student. SMCOE staff then assists the school in developing a safety plan for the student and collaborates with partners, including community agencies and CSF, to identify additional ways to reduce human trafficking.
While SMCOE has made strides in helping educators identify the signs of human trafficking and has created systems and partnerships to address human trafficking, it recognizes there is still work to be done. SMCOE will continue to collaborate with partners through the San Mateo CSEC Steering Committee to end this serious issue impacting youth in San Mateo County.
For more information, contact Jeneé Littrell, Deputy Superintendent, Student Services.