During Girls Inc.’s Community Education Series on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Bay Area youth, Jakki Bedsole of MISSSEY, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, and Hamida Yusufzai of Banteay Srei shared their insights on this critical issue—and what we can do as engaged community members to end the attack on our children. Here is some of what we learned during the conversation.
Who is being trafficked?
Trafficking is happening throughout Alameda County and is often largely invisible. Power structures intersect to increase the risk of sex trafficking for the children most impacted by social inequalities, and particularly for girls of color from under-resourced communities.
What is being done about it?
Numerous laws are being passed in California around trafficking, including ending the criminalization of children who have been trafficked.
City and transit workers, medical and school professionals, and retail and restaurant staff are well positioned to spot and report suspected trafficking, and all Alameda County workers are receiving training on how to respond to trafficking.
Senate Bill 1193 requires many business to display a poster describing trafficking and what to look for to support identifying trafficking.
Numerous organizations in Alameda County are working to provide support, education and housing to young people who have been trafficked.
What can you do to help?
Stop using language that normalizes paying to rape children. There is no such thing as a child prostitute; trafficked children are victims. And men who pay to rape children are not “Johns”, they are child rapists.
Report traffickers. This can be done by calling the National Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888 or calling 911.
Support anti-trafficking legislation. Assembly Bill 371 would make it a crime to contact or communicate with a minor with the intent to commit human trafficking, but the bill is currently stalled. Contact Senator Ricardo Lara at (916) 651-4033 and urge him to take AB 371 off the suspense file and put it back on the table.
Thank you for joining the fight against the trafficking of Bay Area youth.