Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery and a severe violation of human rights. It entails the enslavement of humans through force, fraud or coercion for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, servitude or the removal of organs. While some might think human trafficking only happens in far-off countries, it actually exists right here in our communities. Each year, thousands of men, women and children are exploited by traffickers in almost every country in the world, including the United States.
PCI’s programs work to prevent vulnerable populations from becoming human trafficking victims, with a specific focus on ending domestic sex trafficking of minors in the U.S.
What does human trafficking look like?
- Women and Children: According to human trafficking statistics compiled by the The International Labour Organization, there are an estimated 20.9 million human trafficking victims across the world, with the majority of them being women and girls. A shocking 26% of total trafficking victims are children.1 The average age of entry into sex trafficking in San Diego is 16 years old.2
- The Most Vulnerable: Multiple studies have found that human trafficking victims come from the most vulnerable populations, including those living in poverty, children in the foster care system, persons with disabilities, runaway youth and those with a history of abuse. In San Diego, 55% of human trafficking victims reported that they were or had been homeless and 28% reported they had been in foster care.3
- Sexual Exploitation: Globally, 22% of human trafficking victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, which can be prostitution, sex shows (public or private), production and distribution of pornography and sex tourism. In San Diego, there are an estimated 3,400 – 8,100 victims of commercial sexual exploitation or sex trafficking every year.4
- Big Business: It’s estimated that each year human trafficking and forced labor generate $150 billion worldwide.5 The underground sex industry in San Diego County alone is worth approximately $810 million annually and is the second largest criminal industry in the county.6
How to prevent human trafficking
The question of how to stop human trafficking is complicated, PCI is addressing the problem at local and national levels through four major intervention areas:
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND PREVENTION
PCI’s Girls Only! program is designed to promote self-esteem, develop life skills and inspire positive motivation in young girls who are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. Partners include the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater San Diego and the San Diego Unified Schools PrimeTime program. PCI plans to expand programming to other youth service locations throughout San Diego County and to include boys age 8-15.
No buyers, no business! PCI is a collaborative partner of the CEASE Network, which represents 11 cities dedicated to fighting the demand for illegal commercial sex throughout the U.S. Each city is dedicated to innovating, testing and sharing strategies with a proven impact on deterring people from buying sex.
PCI partners with local organizations to:
- Co-facilitate monthly anti-trafficking meetings;
- Provide training and technical assistance to local stakeholders on identifying and treating victims of sex trafficking; and
- Support public awareness and community outreach activities geared towards ending human trafficking in San Diego.
PCI is also collaborating with local partners to form a coalition of San Diego-based corporations and employers who are committed to preventing human trafficking and sex buying behavior. The Business Alliance Against Trafficking will support local employers in protecting their businesses from the risks associated with human trafficking through best practices such as adopting policies that prohibit sex buying, raising awareness and training employees on the issue, donating resources to local anti-trafficking organizations, and creating safe employment opportunities for survivors.
PCI conducts “Human Trafficking 101” trainings to broaden community awareness of the issue and increase the number of sex and labor trafficking victims who are identified and rescued. The curriculum builds the capacity of community-based organizations (i.e. clinics, churches, and nonprofits) to train their own staff to identify human trafficking victims and refer them to the appropriate resources.
Support PCI’s efforts to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship in communities around the world.
1 U.N. International Labour Organization Global Estimate of Forced Labor 2012 – www.ilo.org/washington/WCMS_182004/lang–en/index.htm
2 Carpenter, A. C. and Gates, J. (2016). The Nature and Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego County. San Diego, CA: University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University
3 Carpenter, A. C. and Gates, J. (2016). The Nature and Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego County. San Diego, CA: University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University
4 Gates and Carpenter (2016).
5 U.N. International Labour Organization: Profits and Poverty, The Economics of Forced Labor, 2014 – http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf
6 Gates and Carpenter (2016).