The academic achievement of America’s youth is strongly linked with their health.

Healthy Students Are Better Learners

Health-related factors such as hunger, physical and emotional abuse, and chronic illness can lead to poor school performance.1 Health-risk behaviors such as early sexual initiation, violence, unhealthy eating, and physical inactivity are consistently linked to poor grades, test scores, and lower educational attainment.2-5

Leading national education organizations recognize the close relationship between health and education, as well as the need to foster health and well-being within the educational environment for all students.6-9 Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Lee SM, Maynard M, Drown DR, Kohl III HW, Dietz WH. Physical education and academic achievement in elementary school: data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. American Journal of Public Health 2008;98(4):721–727

Srabstein J, Piazza T.  Public health, safety and educational risks associated with bullying behaviors in American adolescents. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health 2008;20(2):223–233.

Council of Chief State School Officers. Policy Statement on School Health; 2004.

American Association of School Administrators. AASA position statements [pdf 61K]. Position statement 3: Getting children ready for success in school, July 2006; Position statement 18: Providing a safe and nurturing environment for students, July 2007.


High School Graduation Rate

High school graduates earn higher salaries, have better self-esteem, more personal life satisfaction, fewer health problems, and less involvement in criminal activity as compared to high school dropouts.9 Households headed by a high school graduate accumulate ten times more wealth than households headed by a high school dropout.10 Roughly 60% of jobs require some type of training or education beyond high school.11 The graduation rate for San Bernardino County was 77% in the 2011-12 school year, slightly lower than the state rate at 79%. The rate increased from the 2009-10 school year for both the county (70% to 77%) and the state (75% to 79%).


When examining the federal poverty threshold, 19% of San Bernardino County residents were living in poverty in 2011, slightly higher than in California overall at under 17% in 2011. The county has experienced an increase in poverty from 12% of residents living in poverty in 2007, to 19% in 2011. Children and youth under the age of 18 in the county had the highest rates of poverty (26% in 2011), as compared to adults 18-64 years old (17%), and seniors 65 and older (11%).

Mental Health

The term “mental health” historically has been used in reference to mental illness; however, mental health is increasingly now viewed as a state of well-being. This new framework for mental health includes a focus on resilience, and having certain family and community supports that help improve well-being. Some resilience factors for adults include having people to rely on in a time of crisis, knowing people in one’s neighborhood and having someone to watch one’s child in case of an emergency. For youth, resilience factors include having an adult to rely on, having an adult outside of the home that cares about them, participating in after-school activities and volunteer and leadership opportunities in the community. Students were also asked if they ever felt so sad and hopeless every day for two weeks or more that they stopped doing some usual activities. Boys and girls in all grades in San Bernardino County reported higher rates of sadness than did their peers in California overall in 2009-2011. Girls consistently reported feeling more sad and hopeless than boys across all grades and all school districts.


Data about childhood obesity are most often collected through the Medicaid system, representing low income children. Fourteen percent of low-income children under five years old in the county were obese in 2010. A survey of school students of all economic groups showed that 39% of San Bernardino County 5th , 7th, and 9th graders were overweight or obese, similar to California at 38% in 2010.


One in five (20%) 9th graders in San Bernardino County reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide in the 12 months prior to the survey in 2009-2011. Source: California Department of Education, California Healthy Kids Survey (WestEd). (2013).

Physical Activity

Less than 20% of teens (ages 12-17) in San Bernardino County met the CDC recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity every day, greater than in California at 15% in 2009. California students are assessed for whether they achieve six physical fitness standards in 5th, 7th and 9th grades. Students in San Bernardino County had slightly lower levels of achievement of at least five of the six – physical fitness standards as compared to students in California, in the school years 2010-11 and 2011-12. For example, 47% of county 5th graders achieved at least five of the six standards, as compared to 49% of California 5th graders in 2011/12. Less than 20% of teens (ages 12-17) in San Bernardino County met the CDC recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity every day, greater than in California at 15% in 2009.


Eating breakfast is important for weight control and to provide focus and energy for the day.39 Children who eat breakfast are better able to pay attention, perform problem-solving tasks, have fewer school absences, and have better behavior in school. Only slightly more than half of 9th and 11th graders (54%) in the county had eaten breakfast in the past day in 2009-2011. Further, a smaller percentage of San Bernardino County students in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades ate breakfast as compared to students in California overall between 2007 and 2011.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use

Forty-two percent of San Bernardino County 11th graders reported using alcohol or any other drug in the past 30 days prior to a survey taken in 2009-2011. The rates were highest in Bear Valley Unified where about half (51%) of 11th graders reported using alcohol or another drug in 2009-2010. More than one third (36%) of county 11th graders reported drinking alcohol in the last month, according to the 2009-2011 survey. One in four 11th graders (24%) reported binge drinking in the last month in the county, similar to California at 22%. Fourteen percent of county 11th graders reported smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days, similar to the state at 13%, according to 2009-2011 data.


A recent CDC study of youth and gangs, however, showed that when youth had more protective factors, they had a much lower rate of gang membership. Protective factors may include good parent supervision, a supportive family, social skills, and an ability to cope with conflict. Youth who had seven or more protective factors had a 2% chance of joining a gang, compared to youth who had 0-3 protective factors who had a 26% chance of being in a gang.68 Research also suggests that a comprehensive approach to gangs involving prevention, intervention, and suppression efforts work better than suppression efforts alone.69

What is bullying?

While state laws have little consistency in their definition of bullying, the accepted definition by many mental-health professionals is physical or verbal aggression that is repeated over a period of time and involves an imbalance of power. It is further characterized by the bully repeatedly using the higher social status they have over the victim to exert power and to hurt the victim. When the harassment, name calling, gossiping, or rumor spreading extends from being done in person or by phone to the use of emails, chat rooms, blogs, or other social media, it is referred to as cyber bullying.

Bullying is usually thought of as taking place between children at school. However, it can also occur at work and include behaviors like verbal abuse, sabotaging the victim’ s job or work relationship, or misusing authority. Adult bullies who engage in these behaviors are males 60% of the time. While men who bully tend to direct their hostility toward both genders equally, women bullies target other women about 80% of the time. 8/25/14 11:03 pm
Center for Disease and control Prevention
San Benradino County Community Viral Signs
The Education Trust_ West

    Bullying facts

  • Bullying is defined as physical or verbal aggression that is repeated over a period of time and involves an imbalance of power.
  • Almost 30% of students from grades six through 10 have either been a bully or the victim of bullying, and about half of high school students acknowledge having bullied other students in the past year.
  • Up to almost 75% of people have been the victim of cyber bullying in their lifetime.
  • Teachers often underestimate how much bullying is occurring at their schools.
  • Parents tend to be aware their child is being bullied only about half the time.
  • More than 40% of workers in the United States are thought to have been bullied in the workplace.
  • There are thought to be four types of bullying: physical, verbal, relational, and reactive.
  • Bullies have been found to have rather high self-esteem and to be social climbers.
  • Bystanders of bullying tend to succumb to what they believe is peer pressure to support bullying behavior and fear of becoming the victim.
  • Bullying can have significantly negative outcomes, for both the bully and the victim.
  • There are a number of approaches that victims and bystanders of bullying, as well as parents, school, and work personnel can use to discourage bullying at school or in the workplace.
    What is Trafficking?

  • The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (one of three “Palermo Protocols”), defines trafficking in persons as:
    the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
  • These definitions do not require that a trafficking victim be physically transported from one location to another. They plainly apply to the recruitment, harboring, provision, or obtaining of a person for the enumerated purposes.
  • US Department of State
    Trafficking in Persons Report
    Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
    June 14, 2004 Report

Millions of victims are trafficked within their home countries. Driven by criminal elements, economic hardship, corrupt governments, social disruption, political instability, natural disasters, and armed conflict, the 21st century slave trade feeds a global demand for cheap and vulnerable labor. Moreover, the profits from trafficking fund the expansion of international crime syndicates, foster government corruption, and undermine the rule of law. The United Nations estimates that the profits from human trafficking rank it among the top three revenue sources for organized crime, after trafficking in narcotics and arms.

The modern-day slave trade is a multidimensional threat to all nations.

What is the Human and Social Toll of Trafficking?

Victims of human trafficking pay a horrible price. Physical and psychological harm, including disease and stunted growth, often has permanent effects, ostracizing trafficking victims from their families and communities. Trafficking victims often miss critical opportunities for social, moral, and spiritual development. In many cases the exploitation of trafficking victims is progressive: a child trafficked into one form of labor may be further abused in another. In Nepal, girls recruited to work in carpet factories, hotels, and restaurants have been forced later into the sex industry in India. In the Philippines, and in many other countries, children who initially migrate or are recruited for the hotel and tourism industry, often end up trapped in brothels. A brutal reality of the modern-day slave trade is that its victims are all too often bought and sold many times over.

Victims forced into sex slavery are often subdued with drugs and suffer extreme violence. Victims trafficked for sexual exploitation suffer physical and emotional damage from premature sexual activity, forced substance abuse, and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. Some victims suffer permanent damage to their reproductive organs. Moreover, the victim is typically trafficked to a location where he or she cannot speak or understand the language, compounding the psychological damage from isolation and domination. Ironically, the human capacity to endure unspeakable hardship and deprivation leads many trapped victims to continue to work, hoping for eventual freedom.

Trafficking in Persons Is a Human Rights Violation. Fundamentally, trafficking in persons violates the universal human right to life, liberty, and freedom from slavery in all its forms. Trafficking of children undermines the basic need of a child to grow up in a protective environment and the right to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Trafficking Promotes Social Breakdown.

The loss of family and community support networks renders the trafficking victim vulnerable to the traffickers’ demands and threats, and contributes in several ways to the breakdown of social structures. Trafficking tears children from their parents and extended family, preventing their nurturing and moral development. Trafficking interrupts the passage of knowledge and cultural values from parent to child and from generation to generation, weakening a core pillar of society. The profits from trafficking often allow the practice to take root in a particular community, which is then repeatedly exploited as a ready source of victims. The danger of becoming a trafficking victim can lead vulnerable groups such as children and young women to go into hiding, with adverse effects on their schooling or family structure. The loss of education reduces victims’ future economic opportunities and increases their vulnerability to being trafficked in the future. Victims who are able to return to their communities often find themselves stigmatized and ostracized, and require continuing social services. They are more likely to become involved in substance abuse and criminal activity.

Trafficking Fuels Organized Crime.

The profits from human trafficking fuel other criminal activities. According to the UN, human trafficking is the third largest criminal enterprise worldwide, generating an estimated 9.5 billion USD in annual revenue according to the U.S. intelligence community. It is also one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises, and is closely connected with money laundering, drug trafficking, document forgery, and human smuggling. There have also been documented ties to terrorism. Where organized crime flourishes, governments and the rule of law are weakened.

Trafficking Deprives Countries of Human Capital

Trafficking has a negative impact on labor markets, contributing to an irretrievable loss of human resources. Some effects of trafficking include depressed wages, fewer individuals left to care for an increasing number of elderly persons, and an undereducated generation. These effects further lead to the loss of future productivity and earning power. Forcing children to work 10 to 18 hours per day at an early age denies them access to education and reinforces the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that stunts national development.

Trafficking Undermines Public Health

Victims of trafficking often endure brutal conditions that result in physical, sexual and psychological trauma. Sexually transmitted infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and HIV/AIDS are often the result of forced prostitution. Anxiety, insomnia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are common psychological manifestations among trafficked victims. Unsanitary and crowded living conditions, coupled with poor nutrition, foster a host of adverse health conditions such as scabies, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases. Children suffer growth and development problems and develop complex psychological and neurological consequences from deprivation and trauma.

The most egregious abuses are often borne by children, who are more easily controlled and forced into domestic service, armed conflict, and other hazardous forms of work. Children may be subjected to progressive exploitation, i.e., resold several times and subjected to an array of physical, sexual and mental abuse. This abuse complicates their psychological and physical rehabilitation and jeopardizes their reintegration.

How Do Traffickers Operate?

Slave traders prey on the vulnerable. Their targets are often children and young women, and their ploys are creative and ruthless, designed to trick, coerce, and win the confidence of potential victims. Very often these ruses involve promises of marriage, employment, educational opportunities, or a better life.

What are the Causes of Trafficking?

There are many different causes of human trafficking. These causes are complex and often reinforce each other. Viewing trafficking in persons as a global market, victims constitute the supply, and abusive employers or sexual exploiters represent the demand.

The supply of victims is encouraged by many factors including poverty, the attraction of a perceived higher standard of living elsewhere, weak social and economic structures, a lack of employment opportunities, organized crime, violence against women and children, discrimination against women, government corruption, political instability, armed conflict, and cultural traditions such as traditional slavery. In some societies a tradition of fostering allows the third or fourth child to be sent to live and work in an urban center with a member of the extended family (often, an “uncle”), in exchange for a promise of education and instruction in a trade. Taking advantage of this tradition, traffickers often position themselves as employment agents, inducing parents to part with a child, but then trafficking the child to work in prostitution, domestic servitude, or a commercial enterprise. In the end, the family receives few if any wage remittances, the child remains unschooled and untrained, and separated from his family, and the hoped-for economic opportunity never materializes.

On the demand side, factors driving trafficking in persons include the sex industry, and the growing demand for exploitable labor. Sex tourism and child pornography have become worldwide industries, facilitated by technologies such as the Internet, which vastly expand choices available to consumers and permit instant and nearly undetectable transactions. Trafficking is also driven by the global demand for cheap, vulnerable, and illegal labor. For example, one of the biggest demands in prosperous countries of East Asia is for domestic servants who sometimes fall victim to exploitation or involuntary servitude.

Victim Rescue

As this report shows, the number of trafficking victims the world over is enormous. Many victims are identified through the good work of NGOs and government agencies that investigate trafficking sites, such as brothels, sweatshops, and child soldier camps.

The need to rescue victims promptly is paramount but rescues do not always end the suffering. Some countries lack adequate protection facilities; victims, including children, are placed in jails and further traumatized. In others, foreign victims who lack adequate documentation may be deported summarily without regard to their health or safety. In such cases, many are re-trafficked with additional “debts” and abuses added to their misery.

The psychological and physical suffering by victims of sexual exploitation, involuntary servitude, bonded labor, or forced child soldiering present authorities with long-term challenges. Counseling, shelter, medical attention, and vocational training are required to fully rehabilitate the victims and successfully reintegrate them into their original communities.

Just as challenging as the rescue of victims is the long-term after-rescue care and rehabilitation, which requires planning and considerable resources. There is the need to deliver comprehensive services to ensure that victims are treated with dignity, and given viable opportunities to build a new life. The lack of well-developed protective facilities, however, should not serve as an excuse for not freeing the enslaved.

Estimates of Trafficking Victims

During the last year, the U.S. Government estimated that 600,000 – 800,000 people were trafficked across transnational borders worldwide. Analyses of data reveal that 80 percent of the victims trafficked across international borders are female and 70 percent of those females are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Estimates of people trafficked into the United States ranged from 14,500 to 17,500. These recently revised estimates reflect the use of an improved methodology for estimating trafficking flows.Estimates that include global intra-country trafficking in persons range from two to four million.

Estimates of the number of trafficking victims found throughout the world are inherently difficult to produce. Trafficking in persons, like drug trafficking and arms smuggling, is a clandestine activity made even harder to quantify by its numerous forms. It often is hidden as a subset of alien smuggling or extreme abuse of foreign migrant labor. Moreover, the availability of data on trafficking varies considerably from region to region: there is a noted paucity of data, for example, of persons trafficked to, from, or through the Middle East. The U.S. Government estimates cited in this report focus on persons trafficked across international borders, as those victims are not as difficult to identify as the populations trafficked within all countries.

Definition of “Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons”

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as

  1. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  2. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Definition of Terms Used in the Term “Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons:”

“Sex trafficking” means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.

“Commercial sex act” means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.

“Involuntary servitude” includes a condition of servitude induced by means of

  1. any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or
  2. the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

“Debt bondage” means the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.

“Coercion” means

  1. threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person;
  2. any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or,
  3. the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

Addressing the Vulnerabilities of Abuse in Women and Girls

  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
  • More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.*
  • It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.*
  • Approximately 70% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4.*
  • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.*
  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.*
  • In at least one study, about 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.13
  • The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2008 is $124 billion.*
  • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.*
  • Abused teens are more likely to engage in sexual risk taking, putting them at greater risk for STDs.*

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