This year is special as it is the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, created to combat trafficking of persons, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect victims.
The TVPA was updated many times, creating new laws, programs and funded Task Forces (TVPRA).
While human trafficking has existed for thousands of years, this is the first law that formally recognized human trafficking as a crime, including commercial sexual exploitation and labor trafficking: domestic work, agriculture, and traveling sales crews.
Even with new laws and programs in effect, we know there are still about 50,000-60,000 victims currently in the United States, and an estimated 10,400 minors engaged in sex trade -- just in this country alone!
California remains a popular destination for domestic and international human trafficking due to its powerful economy and numerous ports of entry, followed by Texas and then Florida. Undocumented residents are the most vulnerable to be exploited.
We are also aware that transnational and criminal street gangs have begun to use the human trafficking trade as a core financial component to their criminal enterprise, turning away from narcotics.
Technology has become a powerful tool utilized by traffickers that targets young people, and parents are largely unaware of it.
Casa de la Familia is committed to end human trafficking along with many other organizations. You can call us for more information at (714) 667-5220 or (213) 413-7777.
Remember, if you see something that looks suspicious, don’t act on your own, please say something: call (888) 373-7888.
(Ana L. Nogales, Ph.D. is the founder, CEO, and clinical director of Casa de la Familia.)