November 17, 2012: Announcing a new report yesterday, "The State of Human Trafficking in California 2012," Attorney General Kamala Harris at a press conference (see video in post below), said, "Part of the findings [in the study] illuminate the fact that human trafficking...not only involves the five-year-old trafficked through the tunnels between Mexicali and Calexico and up Highway 5 but also includes the runaway from Kansas trafficked through Las Vegas into West Hollywood. It increasingly involves not only children who are girls, but boys. Our findings also indicate more attention must be given to the issue of labor trafficking. Anecdotally, we know that labor trafficking tends to include more boys than girls; sex trafficking, more girls than boys.
"Transnational and domestic gangs have recently expanded from trafficking guns and drugs to trafficking human beings. Transnational gangs use cross-border tunnels to move not only guns and drugs, but also human beings, from Mexico into California. Domestic street gangs set aside traditional rivalries to set up commercial sex rings and maximize profits from the sale of young women. The perpetrators of human trafficking have become more sophisticated and organized, requiring an equally sophisticated response from law en¬forcement and its partners to disrupt and dismantle their networks.
"The majority [of trafficked children] are American. [This majority] is followed by China (6%) and Mexico (5%)...
"One of the changing trends over the last five years is the increasing connection between this crime and technology...how perpetrators are marketing the 'product' -- on-line through [such conduits as] backpage.com, a site that profits off the selling and purchase of human beings.
"Technology is also a tool to reach out to victims [through social networking via cell phones]." Harris told of a partnership between the Attorney General's office and Yahoo, in which Yahoo technologists programmed search engines to be sensitive to specific words associated with sex trafficking and its victims; when these words appear in social networking conversations, a drop-down comes on the screen and gives the presumed victim an 800 number to call for help.