AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, human trafficking is a global phenomenon that traps millions in cycles of exploitation for sex or labor and is often called “modern slavery”; it is a direct affront to individual human rights and jeopardizes community health; and

WHEREAS, worldwide, human trafficking generates about $36 billion each year. About one of every four of those dollars circulates in the United States, where freedom is an inalienable right; and

WHEREAS, commercial sex trafficking includes “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act.” Children in “the life” are considered victims of severe forms of trafficking—and they are in our schools; and

WHEREAS, every year, hundreds of thousands of children, mostly girls in early adolescence, are at risk of being trafficked. They are subject to physical, verbal and sexual abuse. Specifically, they face social isolation, lack of care, manipulation and severe health concerns, including HIV. Getting out of the life isn’t easy—many are trauma-bonded with those who exploit them and must overcome stigmatization and post-traumatic stress. In some states, they also face the threat of a criminal record; and

WHEREAS, research by the Polaris Project indicates that the majority of trafficked persons come from vulnerable groups, including undocumented migrants, runaways and at-risk youth, oppressed and marginalized groups, and the poor, and that this occurs specifically because they are easiest to recruit and control.  Many of these young people are our students; and

WHEREAS, organizations such as the Polaris Project and Fair Girls have been incredible leaders in establishing and maintaining  infrastructure to combat child sex trafficking and education about this issue. In 2013, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was reauthorized to protect and prevent. Yet there is work to be done; and

WHEREAS, with the right training, paraprofessionals, teachers and school personnel can be first responders in this national emergency. Schools can be part of the frontline to combat the marginalization, criminalization and exploitation of our most vulnerable:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers support the fight to end human trafficking and especially condemn the ongoing exploitation and profit from sex trafficking with children; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT provide resources to inform and educate AFT members and the school community as a whole about the issue of sex trafficking and what they can do to take action against it; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT help prevent child trafficking by providing training and appropriate resources to ensure members have the skills to identify indicators of children at risk and to identify signs of child trafficking.  This should include, but not be limited to, educational materials describing indicators of child exploitation/trafficking, workshops at conferences the AFT sponsors, educational materials such as palm cards and articles in AFT publications; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT combat child trafficking by providing training and appropriate resources to ensure members have the skills to safely report suspicious activity to the right authorities and agencies such as the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT address the consequences of human trafficking by supporting programs that counteract victims’ criminalization and stigmatization, educate victims about their rights and opportunities, facilitate social reintegration, advance educational opportunities and assist in obtaining sustainable employment; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT reclaim the promise of healthy communities by supporting legislation to eradicate human trafficking in the United States and abroad.