Team 10: Human trafficking during big events

Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-05 21:10:46-04

All-Star baseball, Comic-Con and people being sold for sex.

It is a dark side of big events coming to San Diego this summer.

The FBI already identified San Diego as one of the top cities in the country for child sex trafficking.

“It’s different than drugs,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. “You have a product. This is something that can be used over and over again.”

It is a business so lucrative, Dumanis says it brings rival gangs together.

With big attractions, like All-Star Week coming to San Diego, there also comes a side many don’t see.

“What happens is they travel in a circuit, so they go from Vegas to San Diego to San Bernardino to Riverside. And these big events, they bring everybody together to exploit the girl,” Dumanis said.

During All-Star Week in Cincinnati last year, WCPO reported undercover officers arrested more than 10 people in hotel stings in the days leading up to the MLB festivities.

The illegal activity isn’t only found in the streets. It is found online, with the meetings happening behind closed doors.

“It’s frightening that they use hotels as their office place,” said Mike Staples with the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association.

On Tuesday, several agencies trained hotel and motel employees to recognize warning signs. They are doing this now ahead of the big summer season.

A study from the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research found no evidence women were being forced into prostitution because of the Super Bowl. However, there was a roughly 30 percent increase in online sex ads in Phoenix in the days leading up to the event.

“We can be really the place where it ends as opposed to enabling,” Staples said.

This is the first symposium of its kind in San Diego.