January 3, 2013: President Barack Obama, calling human trafficking "...a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery," proclaimed in a press release today that January 2013 is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
"....millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness. They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad, and at home..."
"...change will not come easily...We recall the words of the Emancipation Proclamation -- that every life saved is "an act of justice," worthy of "the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of an Almighty God."... These achievements once seemed impossible -- but on this day, let us remember that they were not, and let us press on toward the future we know is possible."
"...We will invest in helping trafficking victims rebuild their lives..."
"...I call upon businesses, organizations, faith-based groups, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities."
Last November Attorney General Kamala Harris addressed California's problem with human trafficking at a press conference. (See story below)
Written by: Taylor McCulloch
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.