Sex Trafficking is modern day slavery, defined as the recruitment, abduction, transportation, harboring, buying or selling of persons, using force, fraud, or coercion.
13-16 YEARS OLD
is the national average age of entry into the sex trade
is in the top 8 high intensity areas for commercial sexual exploitation of children in the nation.
made from the illicit sex trade in San Diego in just one year
sex trafficking victims estimated per year in San Diego alone
If trafficking is everywhere, why can't I see it?
Victims of trafficking are hidden in plain sight. Traffickers isolate and intimidate their victims so they live in constant shame and fear. By keeping them constantly moving on a circuit, victims are kept disoriented and without a means to escape.
Victims of trafficking are frequently betrayed by people they know and trust and may feel deeply connected or even grateful to the captor. 83% of confirmed sex trafficking cases in the United States were US Citizens
Most victims are not held in physical chains, yet physical and psychological abuse prevent them from running away or asking for help. Traffickers condition their victims through various methods of violence and manipulation to keep them mentally and emotionally enslaved.
It's extremely difficult for victims to come forward for help. Through psychological conditioning, most don't identify themselves as victims. Others believe there is no way out, as they have been completely stripped of their identity and worth.
Traffickers use many methods of threats and coercion to control victims. Forced drug use and threats against family and loved ones are common. This violence encourages victims to cooperate to avoid additional punishment.
Even if a victim appears to be alone, her trafficker is likely nearby watching her every move. Controlling personal documentation, when she eats, sleeps and what she wears, the trafficker takes complete control over her life.
How to Recognize the Signs
Is the person accompanied by someone who seems controlling or abusive?
Do they have to ask permission to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom?
Is the person rarely allowed in public? Can they go out in public alone?
Do they have more than one cell phone?
Can you detect physical or psychological abuse?
Is someone else collecting their pay or holding their money for "safe keeping"?
Keep in mind that many victims have a strong sense of distrust and do not see themselves as victims. Being discrete is essential as their trafficker is likely near by. If you see someone that appears to need help, please contact the National Trafficking Hotline (1.888.3737.888) or your local law enforcement.
Laws Against Trafficking
Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA)
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2013
California Trafficking Victims Protection Act
Find California Trafficking Legislation here