New bill offers human trafficking curriculum in schools

Updated: Jun. 28, 2019 at 5:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Human trafficking is a major issue all over the country and especially in Tennessee.

Lawmakers hope a new bill will help teachers look for red flags among possible victims.

State Representative Debra Moody from Tipton County helped advocate for the bill to educate teachers, students and parents about signs of human trafficking.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people don't think it'll happen in their area. It happens. Doesn't matter big city, rural, international, it is truly everywhere,” said Moody.

The bill will take effect July 1. It is sponsored by Representative Mary Littleton of Dickson, Tennessee.

It requires all Tennessee teachers and high school freshman to watch a video about the instruction, prevention and treatment of human trafficking.

However, parents can opt out of allowing their child to watch the video.

Rachel Haaga works with Restore Corps, a group that empowers survivors, equips communities and seeks to change the system. Haaga says the new legislation is a step in the right direction.

"I am so encouraged. I think our general assembly is every single year making exceptional strides to make sure that we are strategic with our legislation to make sure that we can identify more victims,” said Haaga.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, every two minutes a child is bought or sold for sex in the united States.

Haaga says she hopes this new legislation will be one step closer to ending that startling statistic.

"This particular piece of legislation will train teachers to better identify the red flags for what they are when they're seeing them in their classrooms with their students,” said Haaga.

The video is scheduled to be shot this summer and will then be approved by the Local Education Association in each district.

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