News

Santa Clara County creates human-trafficking commission

'This is one of those problems that's been hidden in plain view,' supervisor says

Addressing a growing need to combat local human labor and sex trafficking, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday, April 29, to set up a human-trafficking commission.

The commission will coordinate a range of government and community efforts to eliminate human trafficking. It will be charged with investigating the types and scope of human trafficking in the county; identifying policies, services and prevention for victims; working with county police departments and the sheriff's office to develop a coordinated response to sex and labor trafficking; creating a public-education campaign; collaborating with law enforcement and the District Attorney's Office to prosecute traffickers and developing training for law enforcement and public agencies, according to the proposal.

The San Jose Police Department and the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking have worked with 300 victims or potential victims since 2003, the majority of which were subjected to forced labor, according to Ruth Silver Taube of Santa Clara University's Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center. Those numbers are rising, she told the supervisors Tuesday.

"This is one of those problems that's been hidden in plain view," said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who introduced the proposed commission. "This is an opportunity to lift the efforts up."

The U.S. State Department defines trafficking as the "act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion." Trafficking includes slavery, forced labor, debt bondage and commercial sexual exploitation. As many as 100,000 American children are trafficked each year, according to the State Department. Internationally, there are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human trafficking.

But it's also a pressing local problem: Most of the reporting calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline come from California, and the Bay Area is said to be a top destination point for trafficked victims. The Bay Area's major harbors and airports, robust industries, growing economy and large immigrant population make it an attractive place for human trafficking, Chavez said.

"Human trafficking denies many county residents basic human dignities and strains the county's safety net by increasing the need for law enforcement to combat the issue. Innovative solutions and improved collaboration between governmental entities and the community are sorely needed," she said.

The timing of the commission is critical, since grant money funding anti-human-trafficking work by the San Jose Police Department will end this summer. The commission will help coordinate efforts surrounding the 2016 Super Bowl, which, along with other large events and conventions, often attracts traffickers, Chavez said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:51 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:26 am

> Addressing a growing need to combat local human labor and sex trafficking,

Oh .. and just how big a problem is this?

> The San Jose Police Department and the South Bay Coalition
> to End Human Trafficking have worked with 300 victims or
> potential victims since 2003, the majority of which
> were subjected to forced labor,

This comes to about 30 people per year.

> numbers are increasing ..

By how much? Certainly seems that this is another of those loosey-goosey issues that no one has any real handle on--but "government" is going to fix it for us.

It wasn't that long ago that the Santa Clara County Supervisors decided (in all their radiant glory) to disengage with the Secure Communities program, refusing to turn over criminals to ICE for deportation:

County should revise policy on immigration holds:
Web Link

Earlier this year, the California Legislature passed the Trust Act, which would deny federal immigration holds through Secure Communities except for serious or violent felons -- essentially, the policy Rosen advocates for Santa Clara County. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it but said he was open to signing a modified version.

[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 30, 2014 at 1:12 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Wow, Joe -- first you attack Joe Simitian for taking action to make restaurants in this area safer, and now you attack efforts to deal with human trafficking in this area.

What, exactly, IS your issue?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by One Who Reads
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm

" The commission will help coordinate efforts surrounding the 2016 Super Bowl, which, along with other large events and conventions, often attracts traffickers, Chavez said."
[Portion removed.] Numerous studies have shown there is no correlation between human sex trafficking and major sporting events, including the Super Bowl. However politicians, like Chavez, continue to repeat this nonsense.
For the Supervisor to make such a claim as Santa Clara prepares to host a Super Bowl is just plain irresponsible.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

> Joe -- first you attack Joe Simitian for taking action to
> make restaurants in this area safer, and now you attack efforts
> to deal with human trafficking in this area.

Simitian didn't do anything to make restaurants safer--all he did was add more paperwork to the business of running a restaurant. Forcing restaurant owners to post the results of a health inspection does not make the restaurant safer. This information was generally on-line, but it's a fair guess no one is going to look at the County's web-site before going to a restaurant.

Simitian got his name in the paper for doing nothing meaningful. On the other hand, he seems to have bamboozzlled you into thinking he actually had done something meaningful.

The issue of a Human Trafficing Commission is another joke--to make someone feel good, while achieving nothing. [Portion removed.]

So--in both cases--Santa Clara County Supervisors have managed to do nothing to make our communities safer [portion removed.]

That's my thing! Pointing out the the Council Government is pretty useless, when it comes to community safety.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Joe: How do you know that the human traffickers are illegal inmigrants? your coment is nothing but clasist and racist. And I can asure you that you are wrong in your appreciation. Any human traficker has to be expelled from society, - either by sending them to jail forever, or deporting them if that is the case (to be jailed wherever they com from) - disregarding their place of origin, or status in society. Dont mix things. I support the effort


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ldy of Justice
a resident of Escondido School
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Why Now, Businesses have been running for quite a long time, is it because now they got their Money and now time to split.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Hey Joe, play nice. That is, if you can.


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