SAN BERNARDINO – Sex trafficking is something that most Americans are led to believe is just something that occurs in other countries. “Not our problem”, is a common attitude until the issue strikes close to home. Sex trafficking (prostitution) is an epidemic, where many times the victim does not even realize that he/she is a victim due to manipulation by the sex trafficker, more formerly known as a pimp. People as young as preteens are falling victim to sex trafficking with lifelong mental scars left behind even after being freed from the grips of the pimp. Elaborate traps are placed luring the young in with enticing promises of stardom, high-pay, or even just stability for a runaway.
The California Human Trafficking Hotline data shows that the victims who reach out to them are overwhelmingly females with 1175 of 1323 cases being females in 2016. Of the 1323 callers, 885 were adult and 402 were minors. The incidence is likely far higher than those mentioned above who reached out for help since many of the sex traffickers threaten their victims, some victims are led to believe the sex trafficking is their choice, and other victims are afraid to report the incidents out of concern for their own arrest. Recent laws in the State of California have been passed in order to protect the victims involved in prostitution.
The Family Assistance Program ‘The Open Door’ has programs available to provide support, both legal and personal for a victim of sex trafficking. Partnering with Public Defenders, District Attorneys, and the Probation Department, The Open Door works hard to assist those who have become entangled in the sex trade. The success rate is astonishing with nearly 100% of those committed to the program.
Also important is educating the public to help prevent future generations from becoming victims. Part of this education includes awareness, which on way to do, is the Family Assistance Program ‘The Open Door’s’, “Walk on Human Trafficking”, which will take place on Saturday, July 22, 2017, starting at 4:00 p.m. on 6th and G Streets in the City of San Bernardino County. The route will take walkers through the Carousel Mall Parking lot on 4th Street, to Juanita Blakey Jones Elementary School on 7th and F Streets, and Riley Elementary on G Street and Baseline. Those wishing to walk for the cause should register an hour in advance at 3:00 p.m. The first 200 registrants will receive a free t-shirt. Online registration is also available at familyassist.org/walkontrafficking.
There will be free water and snacks for those who walk and special speakers, including Senator Mike Morrell, Supervisor James Ramos, Assembly Member Eloise Reyes, District Attorney Mike Ramos, San Bernardino County School District Board Member Gwen Rodgers, and
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