O U R L O C A T I O N S
U N I T E D S T A T E S
About the United States
In the United States, trafficking and exploitation takes place in both urban and rural areas. People of all genders, age, and race and sexual identity are impacted.
According to the Polaris Project there was a 25% jump in human trafficking cases from 2017 to 2019, with 23,078 survivors identified, 10,949 human trafficking cases, 5,859 potential traffickers, and 1,905 suspicious businesses (Polaris Project, n.d.a).
California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the United States. In 2018, there were 1,654 cases of human trafficking reported in California alone. Out of these cases, 1,229 were sex trafficking cases, 149 were labor trafficking cases, 110 involved both labor and sex trafficking, and in 166 cases, the type of trafficking was not specified (National Human Trafficking Hotline, n.d.a). Since 2007, there have been a total of 35,069 contacts made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (phone calls, texts, online chats, emails, and webforms), with 10,016 cases in total.
It is often difficult to identify victims of trafficking because of frequent movement and lack of contact with social and other services. In addition to the challenge that service providers face when identifying human trafficking and other forms of exploitation, victims face various barriers to self-identification that include limited familial support, loyalty or traumatic attachment to traffickers, lack of resources, normalization of sex trafficking as survival on the streets, juvenile arrests for prostitution and treatment as criminals, fear and distrust of adults, and use or threat of violence from the trafficker or exploiter. In a 2018 survey of service providers administered by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), 82% of service providers affirm that victims share with their agencies that they have concerns about contacting police, and 70% of service providers believe that victims have concerns about going to court for a matter relate to their abuser or the offender. This adversely impacts victims’ willingness to assert their legal rights.
Prostitution controlled by pimps characterizes the majority of U.S. sex trafficking cases. Trafficking also occurs at truck stops, massage parlors, residential brothels, escort agencies, and online. Victims of sex trafficking in the U.S. share common risk factors, including child sexual abuse, parental neglect, parental drug abuse, emotional and/or physical abuse by a family member, and poverty. Further risk factors include homelessness, drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, history of prior abuse or neglect, isolation, gang involvement, bad history with child welfare services, history of victimization, low self-esteem or a need for validation, and criminal history or current involvement in criminal activities.
We have worked in the United States since 2016, starting girls’ empowerment clubs and trainings which aim to educate child care professionals and youth about how to identify and intervene in human trafficking.
Beneficiaries of this training include educators, foster care, the transportation and service industry, and anyone who comes into contact with minors on a regular basis. The youth version of this training helps adolescents become more aware of the issue, know what to do and how to recognise when their peers are affected.
The Daughter Project Girls' Home (DPGH) in Kern County, CA, serves as a safe place for youth to access, providing a positive therapeutic and social environment for youth to seek refuge, receive crisis intervention and case management, stabilize, and get connected to resources and services in the community. The mission of the DPGH is to create and maintain a safe, nurturing shelter that first meets the immediate basic needs of a youth in crisis, then, having done so, meets the specialized needs of at-risk youth by connecting them to a continuum of services to address their individual physical, emotional/ psychological, social, educational, environmental, and spiritual needs of the youth.
The purpose of the DPGH is to meet a gap in services for at-risk and highly vulnerable youth. No child should be in a circumstance where they are displaced from a home, vulnerable to being out on the streets, and thus vulnerable to further exploitation, abuse, neglect, and/or commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Brent Stratton, Chairperson
Assistant Chief of Police, Bakersfield Police Department
Liz Neuman, Board Secretary
CEO, Sierra Hills Consulting
Owner, Imbibe Wine and Spirits
Project Lead, CommonSpirit/Dignity Health Human Trafficking Response Program
Co-Director, Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking
Dr. Jasmeet Bains
Physician, Omni Family Health
Dr. Greg Heyart
Chiropractor, Advanced Chiropractic
CEO, Inland Empire Health Plan
Ivette Diaz, Head of Service
Teodora Corbell, Administrator/Facility Coordinator
Mary Nafarrate, Facility Manager
Virginia Jimenez, Facility Manager
Annette Fuentez, Facility Manager
Shelly Sloss, Child Care Worker
Desirae Alaniz, Child Care Worker
Daysi Espinoza, Child Care Worker
Marilyn Wilson, Child Care Worker
Joellen Gutierrez, Child Care Worker
Maria Carmen, Child Care Worker
Molly Pruett, Donor Management Specialist
Charity Jensen, Head of Programs
Mackenzie Noe, Intern