New Combating Trafficking in Persons Course for Military-Connected Students

  • Published

Identifying a need to train military-connected students, the Defense Department's Combating Trafficking in Persons Program Management Office has developed new CTIP training for high school students. The office released the DoD CTIP Student Guide to Preventing Human Trafficking in December. 

Military-connected students face challenges that could contribute to their vulnerability to human trafficking, such as: separations from a parent or caregiver due to deployments, high mobility rates, and social challenges attributed to frequent school changes. 

In 2020, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's CyberTipline received 21.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation. Nearly all were related to images and videos of children being sexual abused that are circulated on the internet. Research shows that, increasingly, minors are being targeted by human traffickers and are being exploited at alarming rates, especially online. 

To educate military-connected high school students in the 10th through 12th grades about the dangers of human trafficking and online exploitation, the CTIP program management office collaborated with Joint Knowledge Online to create the Defense Department's CTIP Student Guide to Preventing Human Trafficking course.  The program management office also worked with the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to provide the 24/7 access to help, which is featured on every page of the Student Guide.

The purpose of this training is to strengthen the ability of students to recognize human trafficking and encourage them to seek help from a trusted adult if they or their friends suspect human trafficking or are being trafficked. The CTIP program management office developed the course using the latest evidence-based information on how to best reach and inform teens. The course emphasizes the strengths and resilience that military-connected teens already have to help prevent human trafficking.

The Student Guide has 18 interactive "action cards" that cover: 

  • The nature and scope of human trafficking.
  • Signs and indicators. 
  • How to recognize potential trafficking situations.
  • How to seek help.
  • How and where to report suspected trafficking incidents.  

Additionally, this unique course consists of many innovative features to engage students, such as near-peer stories, a non-linear format that allows students to skip around and find the information most useful or interesting to them, and interactive games and activities.  

There are four segments in the course, each of which contains a cluster of action cards:  

  • The Nature and Scope of Human Trafficking — educates students on what human trafficking is and the various types of trafficking.  
  • The Signs and Indicators of Human Trafficking — teaches students how to recognize early signs of human trafficking and how human trafficking occurs, particularly within student settings.  
  • Recognizing Potential Trafficking Situations — helps students identify healthy and unhealthy relationship qualities and understand what situations could be human trafficking, such as exchanging sexual pictures online.  
  • Seeking Help and Reporting Suspicious Behavior — outlines how students can stay safe, seek help and help combat trafficking in persons. 

In addition to the student guide, the CTIP program management office also developed a companion Parent Resource Guide, which explains why it's important to educate students about human trafficking and walks parents through each action card in the course.

While the course is designed for military-connected students, it is publicly available on the CTIP program management office website, and non-military connected students will benefit from taking it. To access the student guide, answer a demographic question, and you will be directed to both the student guide and the Parent Resource Guide.