Human Trafficking is Modern Day Slavery
We shake our heads in disbelief that Human Trafficking is happening right here in Southern California. Some blame the victims because they don’t want to believe that such a cruel business thrives in our communities. And, yes, I mean a business. Human Trafficking generates $9.5 billion annually in the U.S. It now surpasses drug dealing. Some gang leaders are switching gears from drug dealer to human trafficker because it is so lucrative. The U.S. Dept. of Justice estimates that up to 300,000 girls from the U.S. are involved in prostitution. San Diego is one of several cities in the U.S. that are major hubs for human trafficking. Other cities that are major hubs include San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Tampa, Nashville, Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Toledo and Washington D.C.
Girls 12 – 14 years of age are targeted; the ones who have emotional holes in their hearts seeking love and acceptance, and, in some cases, a better life. Enticed by a supposed loving man who promises to take care of them, the relationship begins. During the grooming phase the girl receives gifts of nice clothing, meals, etc. Once the girl falls in love with her pimp, the tables turn and the girl quickly learns what she must do and that she cannot leave without serious consequences.
The prevalence and anonymity of the internet has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking making the trade of women and children easier than ever before. Girls (and some boys, too) who have become victims of these predators are around us but escape our attention.
Warning signs to take note of:
If a girl…
Has two cell phones, more than likely one belongs to her pimp
Has injuries or signs of physical abuse
Seems disoriented and doesn’t know where she or he is
Has few personal possessions and wears the same clothes regardless of weather
Has no identification documents
Avoids eye contact and is hesitant to talk to strangers
Is fearful of authority figures, especially law enforcement
Works excessively long hours
Rarely allowed to come and go independently and may be accompanied by someone who controls their every move
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s 24-hour Hotline is (888) 373-7888
Backpacks filled with the items listed below are needed and are used for comfort and assistance of the victims of trafficking at the immediate time of rescue:
Full Size Shampoo and Conditioner
Yoga Pants or Comfy Sweats
Sweater or Hoodie
Flats or Sandals
And people can get creative with other items!Donations of individual items or filled backpacks can be dropped off in Valley Center at a Two Worlds Connect House Concert or call for a meeting place for pickup (760) 419-5082.Thank you!