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Human trafficking: A San Diego County scourge

—GUEST OPINION

 

 

I am pleased to coauthor Senate Concurrent Resolution 88 (SCR 88), which proclaims January 2016 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, has become increasingly prevalent, placing the United States in the top three world trafficking destinations. Un­fortunately, San Diego’s involve­ment in this repugnant crime wave is significant.

A recent joint study by the Uni­versity of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University esti­mated that underage and adult sex- trafficking victims in San Diego County number between 8,830 and 11,773 each year. San Diego Coun­ty’s sex trafficking business gener­ates an estimated annual income of $810 million, supporting an un­derground economy second only to the illicit drug trade. Sex traf­ficking involves at least 110 gangs countywide – it is believed that 85 percent of local sex traffic facilita­tors are involved with gangs.

The average age of entry into child commercial sexual exploita­tion is 15. Most victims are female, with significant recruitment occur­ring on middle and high school campuses.

Aside from the trauma inflicted on individual victims, illegal traf­ficking contributes to increasing levels of violent crime throughout California.

Obviously, more needs to be done to inform the public to deter this malicious form of human ex­ploitation. It is my hope that pas­sage of SCR 88 will highlight what is happening in our communities and help save more victims from this life-shattering crime.


*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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