A newly formed task force in San Diego, the San Diego Violent Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force, consists of 14 law enforcement agencies, including federal law enforcement agencies. The task force’s main goal is to confront human trafficking head-on in an effort to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises involved in this abhorrent criminal behavior.
Authorities announced that the task force will identify, rescue victims, and provide them with access to vital services. By bringing together state, federal, and local law enforcement personnel, the taskforce will also prosecute those identified as being engaged in human trafficking.
San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis called human trafficking, the “biggest human rights violation of our times.” San Diego had made the FBI’s list as one of the worst places for child prostitution. Dumanis said that this new task force will “make serious strides in dismantling and disrupting human trafficking.”
Although members of San Diego’s law enforcement community have been fighting human trafficking for a few years now, the creation of the task force allows local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to share information and resources and coordinate various operations in one, centralized location.
Prosecutions for human trafficking in San Diego have more than tripled over the past 5 years. The District Attorney’s Office brought 43 cases to court in 2013, an increase from just 9 in 2009.
Authorities identify human trafficking as a crime without borders. In other words, victims are often moved from one country to the next, then once within national borders, they may continue to be moved from one city to the next and one state to the next.
Human trafficking has become a $32 billion global industry that is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises. California is one of the top states for this crime.