The horrific realities of human trafficking exist right in front of our eyes.
With hundreds of thousands of trafficked individuals in our country and sex trafficking being one of the largest black market industries, we cannot ignore the devastation that this vile epidemic is causing.
An estimated 4.8 million people worldwide are victims of sex trafficking. Child sex trafficking has been reported in all 50 U.S. states. Sex trafficking is the second-largest underground black market industry in the world, following drug trafficking. In the city of San Diego alone, sex trafficking generates an estimated $810 million a year.
With January being National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, it’s important — now, more than ever — to speak boldly about these issues plaguing our country.
As a resident of San Diego County, this issue hits close to home for me.
San Diego is the second-largest child sex-trafficking corridor sector in the country with an average of 3,400-8,100 survivors each year.
Even those whose communities may not be as directly impacted should still be aware of the issue. Nationally, 100,000-300,000 children are victims of sex trafficking every year.
The average age of a trafficked child is 15 years old. A pimp can make $100,000 a year per child. One report found that in San Diego County, there was trafficking recruitment taking place at every school campus included in the study. Many children being trafficked have endured homelessness, family instability, foster care, emotional distress or mental health issues.
Human trafficking is blind to demographics, race, or social status. Everyone is affected by it.
With the issue of child sex-trafficking being so rampant in San Diego, I felt it was my duty to help my community. That’s why I joined the advisory board of Saved In America, a nonprofit headquartered in San Diego. Saved In America assists parents and law enforcement to locate missing and runaway children: Our mission is to locate your child. Saved In America has helped rescue 232 girls nationwide from traffickers since 2014. Saved In America also helps to rescue children from rehabilitation facilities.
Our organization works tirelessly to locate missing children through our network of volunteers, who use their vast experience and expertise to combat human trafficking. Saved In America’s volunteers are former law enforcement officers, special operators and Navy SEALs turned licensed and insured private investigators.
We gather intelligence and evidence through online and social media platforms to locate and identify missing children, trafficked victims, violent pedophiles (pimps) and trafficking locations. Saved In America’s law enforcement liaison reports all information to local and federal law enforcement officers. Together we are also bringing awareness to our community and working with state, local, and national lawmakers to keep the topic of human trafficking at the forefront of legislation.
Thankfully, we have a president who recognizes this is a major crisis and is doing something about it.
The current administration has been focused on bringing the topic of sex trafficking to the forefront of the national conversation as well as the legislative agenda. In 2018, with the help of conservative advocates, President Trump signed into law a set of bills that makes it easier to combat online sex trafficking. The House bill, FOSTA (The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act), and the Senate bill, SESTA (The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act), have been hailed by advocates as a victory for sex trafficking victims.
These bills clarify America’s sex trafficking laws and make it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking while making it easier for prosecutors to target traffickers.
In a free country such as ours, it’s easy to forget that slavery is alive and still exists in America. Human trafficking continues to haunt America every single day.
While I continue to fight sex trafficking in Southern California, I ask each of you reading this to work with your local state lawmakers to help combat human trafficking in your community. We need to raise awareness across America and continue to support our conservative advocates to ensure anti-sex trafficking legislation continues to be passed to ensure the safety of our citizens.
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