Teen Sex Trafficking Added to Fairfax County Public Schools Health Curriculum

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on the new human trafficking lessons in health classes at Fairfax County middle and high schools. (Published Friday, Jan 10, 2014)

    A new topic is being added to health classes in Fairfax County, Va.: Teen sex trafficking.

    The growing number of cases involving mostly teen girls convinced school officials to act.

    When West Potomac health teacher Leigh Broady found out she'd soon be teaching about human trafficking, she was shocked, thinking it wasn’t a big concern in the county. Then she learned the statistics and watched the videos that will be part of the new curriculum for sixth through 12th graders.

    Broady is looking forward to using the new curriculum

    “I think it is an issue that needs to be addressed in the classroom but also at home,” she said. “I think parents need to know about what is going on and signs and symptoms and things to look out for and really educate their child on their overall appearance and the way people perceive them.”

    The new "Just Ask" campaign targeting students and parents is a collaboration between the police department, the county and the school district. It's development started a year ago when police highlighted statistics that showed teen sex trafficking was on the rise -- even in a place like Fairfax County. In the past two years, 54 defendants have been prosecuted in federal court in northern Virginia – 42 of their victims pressed into prostitution were juveniles.

    A website – JustAskVA.org -- also goes live Monday, offering videos and resources for parents, the community and students.

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