LWVA Addresses Issue of Local Human Trafficking

LWVA Addresses Issue of Local Human Trafficking

Forty-three percent of California’s known human trafficking cases occur in the Bay Area.

Human trafficking — the organized exploitation of human beings for profit through prostitution or involuntary labor — is "the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise," according to California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

"Human trafficking is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry. After drug trafficking, human trafficking is the world’s second most profitable criminal enterprise (along with) illegal arms trafficking," Harris states on her office’s website. "The United States is one of the top destination countries for trafficking in persons. California is one of the nation’s top four destination states."

About 80 percent of human trafficking in the United States involves sexual exploitation and 43 percent of California’s known human trafficking cases occur in the Bay Area. Only one of every 100 trafficking victims is rescued, and two of every three victims of this modern-day slavery are women.

The League of Women Voters of Alameda (LWVA) is sponsoring a free community forum on this form of modern-day slavery from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Alameda Free Library, 1550 Oak St., The library’s rear doors open at 6:30 p.m. for this after-hours event so you can speak to local activists and officials who collaborate to combat human trafficking crimes and support its victims.

These local public agencies and nonprofits are on the front lines of trafficking. These include Alameda County District Attorney (DA) Nancy O’Malley’s office; MISSEY, Inc. (Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Exploited Youth); Alameda Family Services; and Dreamcatcher Youth Services. Dreamcatcher will open a new shelter in Alameda specifically for young victims of trafficking later this year.

"APD fully supports the Attorney General’s efforts in combating the criminal organizations responsible for the trafficking of guns, drugs, and human beings, said APD Capt. Joe McNiff. "Every office receives continuous training in human trafficking. When human trafficking is suspected, it is investigated to the fullest."

Our speaker, Special Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey E. Tsai from Harris’s San Francisco office, will lead a panel discussion that includes Josie Camacho from the Alameda Labor Council; Maia Sciupac from Human Exploitation and Trafficking (H.E.A.T.) "Watch" program; and Jadma Noronha from San Francisco’s Sage Project.

Event cosponsors include APD and the League of Women Voters from Eden, Oakland and Berkeley-Albany-Emeryville).

Jon Spangler is a member of the League of Women Voters of Alameda.