The County’s new Human Trafficking Commission “will bring hope to exploited children and adults in our community. That all possible resources to protect them is finally being focused on their plight,” Co-Chair Cindy Chavez said after its first meeting today.
A wide range of local and federal government officials who work on human trafficking issues, plus non-governmental organizations, business and labor, are represented on the Commission, which is also co-chaired by District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith.
“Our message to the vulnerable victims of human trafficking is: ‘You are not alone. We are here to help you,’” Rosen said. “Our message to sexual exploiters and traffickers is this: ‘We will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes.’”
The Commission voted to identify gaps in the current response to Human Trafficking and to work to remedy them. Specifically, the Commission highlighted the need for a place to treat victims and the need for adequate funding and public awareness.
“I’m pleased that – in our very first meeting – we took steps to identify gaps in service,” Chavez said. “With everyone at the table, we’ll be more effective at finding the best treatment options for victims.”
The Commission represents the first time that the county has attempted to coordinate its approach to a growing problem that has been described as “modern-day slavery.” Best known as child sex trafficking, human trafficking also includes other forms of human exploitation including debt bondage, domestic servitude and forced child labor.
Supervisor Chavez introduced the County measure that created the Commission after the FBI identified the Bay Area as a national hub for child sex trafficking. The County established a Human Trafficking Team in June that added deputies, criminalists and an attorney as part of the larger effort led by the Commission.