In what may be the first systematic attempt to track human trafficking cases in San Francisco, the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking issued a report today finding there were almost 300 known or suspected survivors of human trafficking in the city during the last six months of 2014.
Titled the 2015 Human Trafficking Report in San Francisco, the report covers data reported by 19 government and community-based agencies in San Francisco and counts 291 human trafficking survivors identified by the agencies from July 1 to December 31, 2014.
The victims in the report remain anonymous.
The goal of the task force is to identify gaps in services, improve anti-trafficking policies, and increase the city’s responsiveness to the various forms of human trafficking.
Dr. Emily Murase, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, “It is important to recognize that modern day slavery is happening right here, right now, and it is up to us to put an end to it.”
Sex trafficking accounted for 78 percent of the reported human trafficking cases in San Francisco, while about 8 percent were identified as survivors of labor trafficking, according to the report.
Nationally, sex trafficking accounts for 71 percent of human trafficking cases, according to the Polaris Project, a non-profit organization that works to combat and prevent modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
Globally, there are an estimated 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation, according to the International Labor Organization.
The San Francisco report found that 79 percent of trafficking survivors in the city during the last six months of 2014 were minors or transitional aged youth.
Agencies reported 118 victims of human trafficking under the age of 18. Of those 118 survivors identified as minors, 88 percent were survivors of child sex trafficking, according to the report.
Another 113 victims were between the ages of 18 and 24.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who launched the task force in 2013, said in a statement released today that “This landmark report helps the City understand who is being trafficked and provides strategies to improve our response as a City to combat human trafficking and help victims and
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that roughly 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every year and the Federal Bureau of Investigations has classified the San Francisco Bay Area as one of the 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation.
The 2015 report also includes recommendations for the future of the Mayor’s Task Force’s data collection efforts, such as having agencies implement systematic screenings for trafficking survivors, using a consistent definition of human trafficking, and increasing efforts to serve labor trafficking survivors.
The full report is available here: http://sfgov.org/dosw/mayors-task-force-anti-human-trafficking
To report suspicious activity to the San Francisco Police Department, call their Trafficking Tip Line at 1(415) 643-6233.
Anyone who needs help should call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1(888)-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733) to be connected with a service provider.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News