Human Trafficking | Sex Trafficking | Labor Trafficking

As Co-Chair of the Survivor Services Sub-Committee of the Lawyers Club Human Trafficking Collaborative, I will be sharing information and what we are working on as well as the collaboratives that I belong to who are also fighting this battle. 

Sex Trafficking is happening as early as elementary school and predominantley in middle and high schools. If you think this doesn't happen in your neighborhood, think again. A study by Point Loma Nazarene University found that our of 20 high schools researched in San Diego, all 20 had reported trafficking victims at their school. These were random high schools throughout San Diego. If it is found in 20 out of 20 then you can bet it is happening in all schools.

What is Human Trafficking? (from the San Diego County District Attorney Website)

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where perpetrators profit from the sexual exploitation and/or forced labor of men, women and children. It is a violation of basic human rights, and it is also a crime as defined by U.S. federal law and California state law.

Sex trafficking is the exploitation of a person by means including coercion or deceit to engage in commercial sexual activity, prostitution, exotic dancing, or pornography. (When the victim is a minor under the age of 18 years old, sex trafficking does not require force or coercion. Minors cannot legally consent to sexual activity)

Labor trafficking is the exploitation of a person by means including coercion or deceit for labor services. Labor trafficking victims are often forced into domestic servitude, construction, restaurant, agricultural, massage parlors, or sweatshop factory work with little or no pay.

Human Trafficking Facts and Figures:

  • Human trafficking is not a choice. A person cannot consent to become enslaved.
  • Human trafficking is different than smuggling. Smuggling is based on transportation; trafficking is based on exploitation (although the two can occur together).
  • Human trafficking does not require that a victim be moved over state or international borders. Human Trafficking is also a domestic issue inside CA state and San Diego County.
  • 27 million people are trafficked each year worldwide, with approximately 18,000 victims in the U.S. (U.S. Department of State)
  • Human trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises with estimates of profit worldwide of $32 billion, and 9.5 billion annually in the U.S.
  • California, a populous border state with a significant immigrant population is one of the nation’s top four destination states for trafficking of human beings.
  • San Diego was identified by the FBI as of the top 13 high intensity child prostitution areas.
  • Human Trafficking that is based in sexual exploitation and its related forms of pimping and pandering form the majority of criminal prosecutions.

Here are resources I suggest:

Lawyers Club of San Diego Human Trafficking Collaborative - Provides free training to schools, youth-serving organizations and the community. 

San Diego County District Attorney website is full of information on what human trafficking is, statistics, and resources. Summer Stephan the interim San Diego County District Attorney and she works tirelessly on human trafficking initiatives. 

kNOw MORE! is a student-centered human trafficking awareness and prevention curriculum, for middle school and high school-aged youth in San Diego County. 

Why Middle and High School?

Recent research confirmed that the average age of entry for the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is 16 years old, and can range from 12 – 21 years of age in San Diego County. This underscores the urgent need for educational interventions in middle and high schools to help prevent the proliferation of trafficking at its beginning stages.

The human trafficking curriculum was initiated by San Diego Unified School District, PLNU's Center for Justice & Reconciliation, and the San Diego County Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). The curriculum advisory and development team consists of researchers; survivor leaders; health professionals; and experts from Child Welfare Services, law enforcement agencies, education, victim services, and the applied performing arts.