Edited from a Press Release
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced a collaboration with the state’s Department of Education as part of his continued effort to target and reduce human trafficking.

 
The training will be offered Thursday to school personnel at the 2018 KidStrong Conference in Charleston. The training provides participants with valuable information about human trafficking and how children are often targeted.

“Human trafficking is a crime that does not discriminate. Men, women and children of all ages can be victims,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Equipping school employees with the necessary skills to identify victims and eradicate this growing criminal industry is a crucial step in helping West Virginia reach her full potential.”

Thursday’s training will begin at 1 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center. 

Changes in West Virginia law inspired the Attorney General to take the lead in combating this emerging crime. His office drafted best practices aimed at raising awareness about human trafficking, an initiative that garnered broad support from law enforcement agencies across the state.

“Sadly, human trafficking is increasing throughout West Virginia and as educators, we have a responsibility to protect those who often cannot protect themselves,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “The West Virginia Department of Education is working to provide training and professional development to our schools on how to recognize the indicators to keep students safe and help fight this growing epidemic.” 

Human trafficking is defined as commercial sex or labor that is induced by force, fraud or coercion. It is considered the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world today, second only to drug trafficking according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

West Virginia’s increased rate of drug addiction, poverty and its large number of children in foster care make the state especially susceptible to human trafficking.

The Attorney General believes the training offered by his office will provide educators with the necessary resources to better identify suspicious activity and tackle this growing criminal industry.