Officials Announce First-Ever County Task Force Against Human Trafficking

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Updated at 9:49 PM PST on Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015

Human trafficking and child prostitution are happening in our own backyard. But for the first time in San Diego’s history, a brand new team has been created with a dedicated group of crime fighters trying to stop it. NBC 7’s Steven Luke has the details. (Published Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015)

At a news conference at the Hall of Justice, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Domanis introduced The San Diego Violent Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, a task force that will partner with 14 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The task force will have more than two dozen investigators dedicated solely to making sure suspects are prosecuted to the fullest extent and to help the victims.

“It’s time our entire community wake up on this particular issue and help law enforcement by recognizing the signs of human trafficking and reporting it,” said Dumanis.

While many of the agencies have been working to fight the increase in human trafficking on their own, the task force will unite them and dedicate officers specifically to tackling the issue.

“In many cases these law enforcement officers were going after the sex trafficking and sex trade on their own time,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

The city has been identified in the past by the FBI as one of several human trafficking hubs in California and the nation.

The news comes after a cross-country law enforcement crackdown in December targeted a sex-trafficking organization that involved about 100 young women and girls, many of whom were recruited from San Diego County middle and high schools.

About 50 percent of trafficking cases handled by the district attorney involve gangs, Dumanis said. Gangs lure teenagers into a life of prostitution, she said, as a part of their business now.

The number of human trafficking cases convicted and prosecuted in San Diego County has more than tripled over the past four years, Dumanis said.

According to the DA’s office, under the state’s sex trafficking statutes, a total of 40 human trafficking cases were prosecuted in San Diego in 2012 – a big jump from nine cases prosecuted by the DA’s office in 2009.

Dumanis said the task force needs the public’s help to report possible cases.

“And if you think it isn’t happening in our neighborhoods in San Diego County, think again,” Dumanis said.

In addition to the district attorney’s office, the San Diego County Supervisor, San Diego County Sheriff, San Diego Police Chief, FBI officials, ICE Homeland Security Investigations officials, ICE/Enforcement & Removal Operations officials, La Mesa police, California Highway Patrol Border officials and officials from the California Department of Justice will participate in the task force.

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The growing connection between gangs and sex trafficking in San Diego

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Studying gang, prostitution connection

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⌂ Local Topics Government & Politics Gangs, sex trade a growing problem

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International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children

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International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children

The International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children is celebrated every 23 September. It was jointly established by the World Conference of the Coalition against Trafficking in Persons and the Women’s Conference that took place in January 1999 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

On September 23rd, 1923 the first legal norm against child prostitution, known as Palacios Act 9.143 (Spanish only), was enacted in the world.

The number of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation is alarming. An estimated two-thirds of the victims of trafficking are women and most cases are related to sexual exploitation.

The Belém do Pará Convention defines violence against women as “any act or conduct, based on gender, which causes death or physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, whether in the public or the private sphere”.

The Second Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention highlights some progress in addressing sexual violence and abuse, including forced prostitution, sexual slavery and human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Some States Party adjusted their legislation on trafficking in persons to the Palermo Protocol. They either criminalized the offense or enacted specific rules on human trafficking. This allowed for a comprehensive approach to the prevention and punishment of this crime.

Despite these advances, much remains to be done to eradicate this scourge which affects every country in the world. According to “Regional tools to fight violence against women“, in Mexico, out of every 100,000 women, 14,029.9 had been subjected to physical violence. In Peru in 2012, there were a total of 6,240 reports of violations of sexual freedom, with female victims accounting for 93.41% of such reports; of these victims, 4,257 were younger than 18 years of age. In the Dominican Republic, one out of every 10 women has been the victim of sexual violence at some point in her life.

On September 18th and 19th, the XI Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism of the Convention of Belém do Pará (MESECVI) was held at the Spanish Cooperation Training Center in Montevideo. The goal was to discuss the progress made and challenges ahead in implementation of the Convention by the States Parties. See agenda. A forum on violence and sexual and reproductive rights was held with civil society organizations. This meeting resulted in a Declaration that will be posted soon on the MESECVI website.

Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children is a crime that does not respect rank or condition. It is one of the most lucrative transnational businesses after drug and arms trafficking.  Today children and women of all ages and conditions are likely to be subject to slavery and sexual exploitation.  Addressing the importance of this day will contribute to a deeper reflection on how to prevent this crime.

Inter-American Comission of Women • Organization of American States (OAS) • 1889 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20006 • www.oas.org/cim/ • Contact us at cim@oas.org

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