YOUTH SAFETY: Stop Human Trafficking


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Patricia Dickenson



An unacceptable and tragic reality is that somewhere between 200,000 to 300,000 children sit in American classrooms and will be trafficked for labor or sex every year. Because of mandatory school attendance, educators are in a front-line position to identify and intervene in the lives of youth that are most at risk of being exploited. Participants in this course will learn about the scope and devastating effects of this exploitation, how to identify vulnerable students and intervene effectively. 

Importantly, The Heritage Institute has made special arrangements with Friends WPC Nepal, a Seattle non-profit supporting an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Nepal, which saves girls and women from trafficking. Participants can decide to communicate by email and zoom meetings with the Nepal project and their wards, facilitate email communication between their classrooms and youth in the WPC (Women's Protection Center), or they may choose to connect with a local project. All reading is online. 

This course is appropriate for teachers from intermediate grades through high school, school administrators, counselors, and psychologists. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • A greater understanding of the scope and severity of human trafficking in the USA and internationally

  • Developed skills and tools to assess students most vulnerable to being exploited

  • More awareness of what steps to take as a means of intervening with vulnerable youth

  • Learned to give an opportunity to educate youth to the dangers of exploitation in age-appropriate ways

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



None.  All reading is done online.

None. All reading is online.





Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: COURSE FORUM: Introduce Youtself

View the video Only You can Prevent Human Trafficking.

Use this Flipgrid to record a video of yourself responding to the following:

Identify your current teaching position.
What prior knowledge do you have about human-trafficking of minors?
What do you hope to gain from this course, and why?

Assignment #2: Human Trafficking Background

In the last twenty years, human trafficking of children has risen as a governmental and civil society priority, resulting in the growth of watchdog organizations and resources to prevent trafficking and care for its victims. In this assignment, we will build a background on the trafficking of minors. 

Assignment #3: Learn the Warning Signs

As many as 300,000 students are sitting in American classrooms who are or will be victims of human trafficking. As such, educators play an extremely important role in early detection and intervention for youth who are at risk.

  • Watch the video How to spot human trafficking

Based on the video and your reading, create a simple assessment tool defining characteristics and situations indicative of youth vulnerability that would be useful for your professional situation. In a 2-3 page paper, recall and select one prior student that closely fits your profile, use an alias, describe them, their vulnerabilities, and what, if any, interventions or interactions you had that supported the student’s well-being in any way.

Assignment #4: Intervening with vulnerable students

Teacher’s skilled and timely intervention with vulnerable students can literally be a life-saver. How you approach a young person who is trapped, feels threatened or worse, has been brain-washed into believing the perpetrator is helping them can be challenging.

Assignment #5: Protecting Kids with Social Media Saavy

Cunning predators troll social media spaces disguised as children or friendly adults looking to dupe children into ultimately compromising encounters. Teachers need to be able to advise students and their parents about this growing threat. Paving the Way Foundation has developed a presentation to help parents explore and safeguard their children’s social media experience.

Read Dr. Dickenson's article in Edutopia Getting Kids to Take Online Safety Seriously

Read the pamphlet and in 250+ words describe:

a)   What you may already be communicating with students and parents about potential social media threats.

b)   What was new to you in the reading and the article.

c) what you will do in your work to develop an understanding of potential online threats.

Assignment #6: Join the Front Lines of Help: Friends of WPC Nepal

In this course, we have chosen to spotlight Friends of WPC Nepal, which is a Seattle non-profit in support of a Nepali program protecting women and girls from human trafficking. View several videos about this organization and the young girls they save:

Arati's Story

Visit the website read about Us, Our story, Nepal Team, and the Our Programs Tab. We have made arrangements through Sarah Longino in the USA (Communications Director) and Ganga Tamang in Nepal to enable teachers and their students to communicate with the Nepali team and their wards. A Zoom call or letter exchange with program leaders and their protectees can go a long way to helping our students here engage more deeply with the reality of human trafficking.

Connect with Friends of WPC Nepal or another (local) program of choice (see bibliography for options) or search. Devise a plan of action and summarize your plan in 250+ words via a video report or text doc.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #7: Lesson Development

Option A:

  • Adapt/create an activity or lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. include as well some form of communication (letter, flyer, web page) for parents/guardians on child safety in regards to the threat of predators. 
  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 400-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback or noteworthy student products.
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the lesson tab below. 
  • Share what you've learned with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box when you submit your lesson.  


Option B:

Use this option if you do not have a classroom or students available.

  • Adapt/create a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Write a 500+ word article concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines for our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon (,THI blog curator.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your article to your instructor via Response field and the modified lesson via Submit Lesson.  
  • As you submit your lesson, consider sharing it with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box.

Assignment #8: (500 Level ONLY)

Complete assignment A and two (2) other options.

A) Search your state’s department of education website for pages or articles on human trafficking. In 250+ words summarize and compare what you’ve learned in this course with what you found on your department of education and indicate: 1. What additional information you may have learned and/or 2. What key facts or perspectives were missing.
Option B)

Interview members of your local law enforcement and health (pediatrician, youth counseling service) and get their perspectives on: 1) What are the key steps educators can take to help keep children safe 2) What are some of the most difficult and complex cases and how best to handle them. Report via a 250+ word essay or google slide presentation.
Option C)

Prepare a Powerpoint (15+ slides), google slides or site, or bulletin for educators on what you’ve learned in this course.
Option D)

Another assignment of your own choice with your instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #9: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Dr. Patricia Dickenson is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education. She is the Program Lead for the Bachelors of Arts In Interdisciplinary Studies with the Preliminary Multiple and Single Subject Credential. She is also the Course Lead for several Courses at National University including: TED 350 Math and Science Methods, ITL 516 Elementary Math Methods, ITL 518 Elementary Science Methods, TED 300 Foundations in Education, TED 310 Educational Psychology. Her research area focuses on mathematics professional development and technology. She has worked in higher education for the past 8 years and was a mathematics coach and elementary school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified school district for over ten years. Dr. Dickenson has published two books and has over 12 book chapters and articles. She recently received the National Council of Teaching Mathematics Grant for Classroom research,


YOUTH SAFETY: Stop Human Trafficking

Kristoff, N. WuDunn, C. 2010.  Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Vantage Books, New York
From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.


Flores, Theresa, Wells, PeggySue. Slavery in the Land of the Free: A student’s Guide to Modern day slavery.  Ampelon Publishing.A Student's Guide to Modern Day Slavery, Slavery in the Land of the Free is a follow-up project to bestseller, The Slave Across the Street. Geared toward teens and young adults, and those who love them, former trafficking victim and bestselling author Theresa Flores teams up with award-winning author PeggySue Wells to deliver a must-read book for the next generation who want to end human trafficking and the enslavement of their peers and siblings. The numbers are staggering. With more than 13 million children enslaved worldwide, human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States. The average age of a sex slave is 11 years old. The targets are anyone who is vulnerable.


Organizations to Help Stop Human Trafficking

International Justice Mission-To End slavery in our time

Laboratory to Combat  Human  Trafficking

Stolen Youth-Seattle



Empowering survivors of human trafficking

National Human Trafficking Hotline Information