International health and humanitarian organization brings global experience to implement anti-trafficking programs in the US and border region
San Diego, CA (February 14, 2014) – In response to the proliferation of sex trafficking in the San Diego and US/Mexico border region, PCI (Project Concern International) is providing leadership by convening key stakeholders and launching programs aimed at preventing sex trafficking in these areas. Building on a successful anti-trafficking education program in Ethiopia and India, PCI is utilizing its expertise with at-risk populations and social mobilization to help stop this epidemic.
In collaboration with Bi-Lateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC), PCI has organized community coordination “Anti-Human Trafficking” meetings that have brought together survivors of trafficking, victim shelters and service providers, the FBI, law enforcement, researchers, education officials, advocates for women and children, media, faith-based groups, human rights advocates and Baja California officials.
The BSCC, which has been coordinating anti-trafficking efforts for over 10 years, is partnering with PCI on another collaborative initiative called “Awareness, Action and Accountability” to combat the problem of human trafficking in the San Diego/Tijuana region. The objectives of the program include increasing prevention, education and awareness efforts; reducing demand; and increasing the capacity of the public and local agencies to identify victims of trafficking.
“The most at-risk population for sex trafficking are individuals with a history of trauma, under 18 years old, with limited education and a lack of family support. However, there is evidence that it can happen to anyone from any background,” said Bianca Morales-Egan, PCI’s Operations Manager and Prime Mover on Gender Equity. “The targets for many traffickers are those youth in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, runaways and homeless youth – the same groups we hope to reach through PCI’s anti-trafficking initiatives.”
Additionally, PCI is working with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement and a Boys and Girls Club in the area to enhance and catalyze the expansion of the Girls Only! Program, which seeks to build young girls’ self-esteem in high-risk areas as a means to prevent girls from falling victims to sex traffickers. This group is developing a plan for scaling up the model throughout San Diego County.
PCI sees its opportunity to address the issue in prevention, reaching out to at-risk populations about avoiding the dangers of sex trafficking. Since 1961, PCI has focused on vulnerable populations to improve health, safely and access to education. Its work with orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) has ranged from street children outreach to shelter homes and vocational programs. To learn more about this important issue, contact PCI at 858-279-9690 x326.