LWV to Host Human Trafficking Forum

Human trafficking — the organized criminal exploitation of human beings for profit by forcing them into prostitution or involuntary labor — is no stranger to Alameda County.

Human trafficking is perhaps the world’s fastest-growing criminal activity. It affects victims in 127 countries, including the United States. California is a major entry point for traffickers and their victims. About 80 percent of these victims are forced into commercial sex slavery; 17 percent are exploited for forced labor, often in homes and sweatshops.

Two of every three victims are women. The criminals running human-trafficking networks earn $32 billion every year; just one out of every 100 human-trafficking victims is rescued.

This crime is the topic of a League of Women Voters of Alameda (LWVA) free public forum at the Alameda Free Library, 1550 Oak St. The forum, which takes place from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, features several experts on the topic.

They include Jeffrey Tsai from the state Attorney General’s San Francisco office; Maia Sciupac, coordinator of Human Exploitation and Trafficking (H.E.A.T.); Jadma Noronha, human trafficking program coordinator for San Francisco’s Sage Project; and Josie Camacho, executive secretary-treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council.

Discussion and a question-and-answer period will follow the panel’s presentation.