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World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

July 30, 2023

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 

     Since its inception in 2013, this day has been sanctioned as an opportunity for raising awareness of the global problem of human trafficking. A few years ago, a few of us had the opportunity to attend the Ventura County Coalition Against Human Trafficking Myth Buster Panel where we learned a lot about what’s going on right in our community. VCCHAT started in 2015 and is comprised of Law Enforcement, Victim Service Providers, Legal Service Providers, Faith Communities, and concerned citizens that are dedicated to working together to address the critical issue of Human Trafficking in Ventura County.  

     Human Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, harbor or receipt of an individual by use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation, involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slave labor; or any child under the age of 18 that is used for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This covers labor trafficking, adult sex trafficking and CSEC Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.  

These common myths were busted: 

MYTH-Human Trafficking only occurs outside the United States.  

BUSTED: Human trafficking is very prevalent in the United States, here are the 10 states with the highest rates of human trafficking (taken from https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/human-trafficking-statistics-by-state): 

  1. Nevada (7.50 per 100k)
  2. Mississippi (4.99 per 100k)
  3. Florida (4.08 per 100k)
  4. Georgia (3.85 per 100k)
  5. Ohio (3.84 per 100k)
  6. Delaware (3.84 per 100k)
  7. California (3.80 per 100k)
  8. Missouri (3.78 per 100k)
  9. Michigan (3.64 per 100k)
  10. Texas (3.63 per 100k)

MYTH -Human Trafficking is always or usually a violent crime.  

BUSTED: The most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation. In reality, most traffickers use psychological means such as, tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.  

MYTH – Only undocumented foreign nationals get trafficked in the United States.  

BUSTED: Victims of human trafficking are those of all ages, races, genders and nationalities. 

MYTH -If the trafficked person consented to be in their initial situation, then it cannot be human trafficking or against their will because they “knew better.” 

BUSTED: Initial consent to commercial sex or a labor setting prior to acts of force, fraud, or coercion (or if the victim is a minor in a sex trafficking situation) is not relevant to the crime, nor is payment. 

     The vast majority of recruitment is online- make sure you know who your kids are talking to! Since most of the media and imagery that surrounds human trafficking depicts victims who are chained and bound, many victims don’t even know or believe they are being trafficked especially since the perpetrators are people they trust and have developed relationships with as a result of grooming. It is important to point out that it often takes approaching the victim more than one time for them to realize they need help. These victims are scared for their own safety as well as for their families and loved ones. Also, the victims often believe that they will be arrested, deported or lose their children if they report the trafficker. Most successes that have taken place are when the victim has the chance and space to form a relationship with a healthy person. 

     Human trafficking is oftentimes the end result of a lifetime of vulnerabilities (trauma, disability, abuse, violence, poverty, etc.) which is why it’s so important for the staff at K&FT to be aware of these facts. Many of the parents/caregivers we work with can be at risk. Children in foster care are a high-risk group for CSEC as well as labor trafficking as they move into adulthood and are looking for work.    

What Can Commercial Sex Trafficking Look Like in Ventura County? 

  • Escort services- Hotels/Motels, Night/Strip Clubs, Internet Ads 
  • Outdoor Solicitation- “Tracks” or “Strolls” (Street Side), Truck Stops 
  • Residential- Organized Brothels, Private Homes/Drug Distribution or “Trap” Homes, Massage Parlors 
  • Pornography- Informal Distribution, Formal Pornography Companies 
  • Personal Sexual Servitude- Survival Sex, Forced Marriage 
  • Internet Sex Acts- Webcams, Text-Based/Phone Chat, Social Media 

What Can Labor Trafficking Look Like in Ventura County? 

  • Massage Parlors- Front Desk, Cleaning Services, Masseuse 
  • Hotels & Hospitality- Housekeepers, Janitorial/Maintenance Services, Cooks 
  • Traveling Sales Crew- Door to Door, Stationed Outside Establishments, Selling Items (magazines, candy, etc.) 
  • Agriculture – Field workers, packers 


Who to contact If You See Something/Someone Who Needs Help 

  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center- For survivors or current victims of sexual exploitation. Provides critical support, information, and services to get help; safety planning and tools to combat all forms of human trafficking. Call/text/chat online is confidential and available 24/7 to request assistance or report a tip anonymously. Available in English or Spanish or more than 200 additional languages through an on-call interpreter.  

Contact: 1-888-373-7888; Text: 233733; 

Website: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/ 

  • Law Enforcement- If you witness a suspicious situation and/or there is a possibility of immediate harm, call 911 and use the key terminology “suspected human trafficking” so the call is addressed to the correct unit and routed properly.  
  • Victims Services- There are 2 local hotlines that have lines open 24/7: 
    • Adult Victims- Interface Children & Family Services: 1-800-636-6738 
    • Child Victims- Forever Found R.E.A.C.H.: 1-805-261-1212  

If You Are A: 

  • Parent/caregiver, you can learn how youth are targeted and recruited (resources on VCCAHT) 
  • Health Care Worker, you can learn how to identify (Interface Children & Family Services has training specifically for health care industry) 

Other Things You Can Do: 

  • Become well-educated on the issue 
  • Talk to the children in your life 
    • Connect, connect, connect! 
      • Read stories 
      • Plan a picnic 
      • Play a card game 
      • Make a pillow fort 
      • Blow bubbles 
      • Have a barbecue 
  • Donate to a local organization- Interface and Forever Found (look up foreverfound.org to find information on an upcoming Benefit Dinner & Live Auction) 

These are just a few things, find more at  


July 30, 2023