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General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567

2016

El Dorado County Supports Community Awareness Efforts to Address Human Trafficking
 
Department:
 
Health and Human Services Agency

Date:
5/26/2016
Contact:
 

Phone:
 

The El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is working with the community and County partners to support local outreach and education efforts to combat human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where victims are controlled or forced to perform labor, are sexually exploited or both. A taskforce focused on the problem of human trafficking was formed in El Dorado County in 2014.

“It’s easy to assume that human trafficking only happens in large, urban and economically challenged communities,” said Leslie Griffith, Deputy Director of El Dorado County Child Protective Services. ”But the reality is that human trafficking can happen anywhere, even in a smaller, rural county like El Dorado, and it can happen to people from any socioeconomic background.”            

According to Griffith, the human trafficking cases in El Dorado County over the past few years involved youth who were actively trafficked or were at high risk of trafficking. Some of the victims were youth with multiple life challenges such as poverty, homelessness, or were victims of domestic violence, sexual or physical abuse. Some were foster children or dependents of the court. Some victims came from affluent and/or well-functioning homes. One case involved a child lured into human trafficking online. These cases may involve child victims fleeing abuse at home only to be re-victimized on the street by those seeking to exploit vulnerable youth.

"It’s important that we recognize these children as victims of a crime and strive to get them the help they need,” said Griffith. “The best way to combat human trafficking is education, awareness and early intervention.”

The El Dorado County Foster Youth and Human Trafficking Taskforce strives to collaboratively address human trafficking. Members of the taskforce include the following El Dorado County organizations: Child Abuse Prevention Council, Child Protective Services, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), County Office of Education, District Attorney’s Office, Mental Health, Placerville Police Department, Probation Department, Public Defender’s Office, Public Health, Sheriff’s Office, and South Lake Tahoe Police Department. Other local partners working to raise awareness about human trafficking include BreakFree/3 Strands, Partners Against Trafficking of Humans (PATH), and Summitview Child and Family Services. 

HHSA is working with local partners over the coming year to support outreach and education efforts on human trafficking. One specific effort involves education to local businesses. California Senate Bill 1193, passed in 2012, requires certain businesses to post public notices informing the public and victims of human trafficking of telephone hotlines where they can seek help or report unlawful activity. HHSA is working with chambers of commerce, county and city staff to get the word out to businesses. 

Businesses and establishments required to post the public notice under SB 1193 include airports, rail stations, truck stops, rest stop areas, emergency rooms in acute care hospitals, urgent care centers, farm labor contractors, privately operated job recruitment centers, adult or sexually oriented businesses, businesses that offer massage, and businesses licensed for the onsite sale of alcohol. 

A new El Dorado County website has been created with information about human trafficking, including links to partner agencies, and signs to help identify if someone may be a victim of human trafficking. The website also has a page for businesses about SB 1193, with an easy-to-download public notice. The website is http://www.edcgov.us/stophumantrafficking/. HHSA’s outreach activities with agency partners are possible due to funding through the California Department of Social Services.

        

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