Human Trafficking in Our City
Human trafficking is going on right here in San Rafael. Our community is fighting back. The Marin County Human Trafficking Task Force is kicking off a “Look Beneath the Surface” awareness campaign and the City is working to shut down illicit massage parlors. Learn more…
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is slavery. It involves controlling a person through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. It includes prostitution, wage theft and domestic servitude.
- It is NOT just international; humans are trafficked within the US.
- It dos not require moving individuals across borders or within the US.
- It is NOT just foreign-born women and girls who are sex-trafficked. The vast majority of victims are Americans. Domestic women and girls – even girls from Marin – are trafficked.
- It is NOT a victimless crime. Prostituted women and girls are subject to constant physical and psychological abuse.
California is one of the nation’s top four destination states for trafficking. Between 2010 and 2012, California’s task forces initiated over 2500 investigations, identified almost 1300 victims, and arrested almost 1800 individuals.
For more information on trafficking, see the California Attorney General’s Report on Human Trafficking.
As one assistant district attorney said, “You have a freeway? You have the internet? You have motels? You have trafficking.”
Marin fights back: County Human Trafficking Task Force
Trafficking in Marin is no longer a secret, thanks in large part to Emily Sims, Executive Director of West Marin Advocacy. She has been relentless in her efforts to raise awareness that Marin girls and women are being trafficked right here. She along with other trafficking activists got the District Attorney to establish the Marin County Human Trafficking Task Force earlier this year. The Task Force includes law enforcement, prosecutors, victim service providers, survivors and others who together can work on the full spectrum of solutions to this complex problem. First priorities for the Task Force have been awareness, law enforcement training and protocols for not criminalizing victims.
Stop Human Trafficking Campaign
In addition to the Look Beneath the Surface campaign, our District Attorney is enforcing SB 1193. This is a state law that requires posting of notices regarding trafficking and slavery in certain businesses, including massage parlors, bus and light rail stations, truck stops, and emergency rooms,
The DA’s Inspectors are visiting each required business (approximately 100 total in Marin County), explaining the law and providing linguistically appropriate resources to merchants and employees.
SB 1193 Poster Requirement (and other information on human trafficking in California)
Protecting our kids
While victims can come from any socioeconomic or ethnic background, the one characteristic that they usually share is some form of vulnerability. Many domestic victims of sex trafficking are underage runaways or ‘throwaways’ and many come from backgrounds of sexual and physical abuse, incest, poverty, or addiction. Traffickers are experts at identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities.
Parents and teachers can learn more about identifying vulnerable kids and exploited kids:
Report suspected trafficking
Put this number in your cell phone:
- National Human Trafficking Hotline to report trafficking or to get help
- 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP at: BeFree (233733)