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February 13, 2018 > January proclaimed Human Trafficking Month

January proclaimed Human Trafficking Month

By Roelle Balan

At its January 23rd meeting, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors proclaimed January 2018 as ?National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.? The proclamation was accepted by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O?Malley.

The proclamation states: ?83% of identified human trafficking victims in the U.S. are American born?? and ?the average age of a Commercially Sexually Exploited Child (CSEC) brought into commercial sex by an exploiter is 12-14 years old??. A county-wide advisory council, Alameda County United Against Human Trafficking, has been established to combat this problem and aid victims. Organizations involved include West Coast Children?s Clinic, DreamCatcher Youth Services, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, the Consulate General of Mexico, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, and Love Never Fails.

Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit, also known as H.E.A.T. has been created by the District Attorney?s office to assist with effort. Created in 2005, its focus is to coordinate community outreach, law enforcement training, anti-human trafficking policy development, innovative prosecution techniques, and victim services.

After O?Malley spoke about the proclamation, she introduced several students, their teacher, and the principal of St. Leo?s Catholic school in Oakland. Posters created by eight 8th grade students from St. Leo?s were displayed, inspired by Deputy District Attorney Sabrina Farrell?s workshop on human trafficking. The posters will be displayed in county buildings and auctioned to the public. Proceeds from sales will be given to the student artists to continue their advocacy.

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