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County leaders consider a new initiative to combat sex trafficking

sex trafficking
Posted at 12:17 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 15:17:56-05

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is looking to take the next step in the fight to combat sex trafficking in San Diego County.

Vice-Chair Nora Vargas has introduced an initiative to strengthen the county’s efforts to combat the issue.

She hopes to create a peer support navigator program that will offer more education, resources and services to sex trafficking survivors and their families.

"Today's actions will reinforce our commitment as a county to combat human trafficking and provide the survivors and their families need is a transition to independence," Vargas said.

While anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, Prosecutor Maggy Krell said the issue disproportionately hits the most vulnerable.

"We see teenagers from the foster care system, teenagers who have been failed by child welfare, teenagers who have been abused in their own homes— either neglected or sexually abused, or both kids from the LGBT community. [It]disproportionately impacts women and girls of color and girls who are from families with undocumented immigrants or undocumented immigrants,” Krell said.

Experts weighing in on the subject said every year there are anywhere from three to eight thousand victims in San Diego County.

“The problem of human trafficking impacted on in a way that we will never imagine,” Gabriel Contreras, father of sex trafficking survivors, said

One family impacted in the last two years— the Contreras family.

“After a year talking to my daughter, [her] supposed boyfriend in December 2020 decides to strike and take our daughter from our home and selling her to another man," he said.

While local leaders of the issue agree San Diego has made progress on the issue they say there is more work to be done.

If the initiative passes, the board will revisit this item within the next six months to review the recommendations made.