During the fall 2019 semester, law students from the Florida State University College of Law Human Trafficking Exploitation Law Project (HELP) advocated for proposed Florida Department of Education (DOE) rule 6A-1.094123, requiring all Florida school districts to teach human trafficking prevention from elementary school through high school.
The law students researched other states’ laws on how to implement preventative measures in schools and drafted comments to the DOE rule to make it a robust, meaningful requirement for Florida’s school districts. They presented in favor of their comments at the State Board of Education meeting in Jacksonville in September.
The State Board of Education adopted the comments verbatim and passed the rule, which went into effect in November. By December 1st of each year, each school district must post their implementation plan, and by July 1st, each school district must submit an annual report verifying compliance.
“This is a major accomplishment in the prevention of trafficking of children in Florida,” said Paolo Annino, director of the FSU Public Interest Law Center. “We are hoping that the new rule will teach K-12 students how to protect themselves from traffickers and will make children who are victims of trafficking feel safe to seek help from school personnel.”
FSU’s Public Interest Law Center is funded in part by a Children’s Legal Services grant from the Foundation.
The HELP program works to represent individual children who are victims of human trafficking and advocate for law reform to prevent vulnerable children from being trafficked.