School-based prevention and intervention programs are powerful tools in the fight against human trafficking. Data we analyze in Lighthouse reveals the indicators that are most prevalent for those who are screened as “clear concern” for exploitation. Among the top ten indicators of risk are youth who have highly irregular school attendance, including frequent or prolonged tardiness or absences. School counselors and other staff may be among the first who see these signs with vulnerable youth and can take action.
We are excited to be partnering with Fort Worth ISD, one of only eight school districts nationwide to receive a federal grant to develop and implement programs to prevent human trafficking victimization. The three-year grant program, announced in June, will fund the District’s objectives of increasing teachers’ understanding of the complexities of human trafficking, increasing students’ understanding of protective factors, and training qualified student support services staff to implement and replicate the project activities district-wide.
Fort Worth ISD is one of the largest school districts in Texas, with over 84,000 students and 11,330 employees across 144 campuses. This month we collaborated with the district’s Human Trafficking Prevention Office to train and activate 275 counselors and intervention specialists on Lighthouse and the CSE-IT (Commercial Sexual Exploitation – Identification Tool). These staff will be using Lighthouse to screen students across the district’s elementary, middle, and high schools. Students who are identified as “clear concern” for exploitation will be referred to local agencies involved in care coordination.
Fort Worth ISD is our largest Lighthouse deployment to date. They join over two dozen other partners in North Texas and 120 organizations across the state who are using Lighthouse to screen with CSE-IT, capture and analyze care coordination performance metrics and visualize statewide trafficking data. We are grateful to Fort Worth ISD for its leadership and its deep commitment to raising awareness and combating trafficking in its community. They are blazing a path for other school districts to follow.