More reported human trafficking activity occurs in California than any other state, with 1,305 reported cases in 2017, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The next highest number of cases was Texas with 792. To make matters worse, 40 percent of trafficked victims are between the ages of 12-17, while 60 percent are between 18 and 25, with many in this demographic having been originally trafficked at a younger age.
Because this is such a critical issue for our state and community, I’ve supported several human trafficking bills, including the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act and No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act, to help keep perpetrators at bay and limit their access to commercial vehicles commonly used in trafficking. I also supported and President Trump signed into law H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, to provide law enforcement the necessary tools to fight websites that facilitate sex trafficking, like Backpage.com, and hold them accountable.
But there’s more we can do working across local, state and federal lines to raise awareness and combat this in our community. The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign works in collaboration with law enforcement, government, and non-governmental and private organizations to bring those who exploit human lives to justice and encouraging constituents to get involved. Visit www.dhs.gov/BlueCampaign to learn how to identify human trafficking and put an end to this epidemic.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, always dial 911. But there are also several resources to report suspected human trafficking at both the federal and local level or seek support and assistance for victims.