Human Trafficking in Your Neighborhood
Written by Jacqui Rogers and Gloria Leonard, former Public Policy Co-Chairs, for the November 2015 issue of the BONFIRE to raise awareness on human trafficking problems and take action.
Most of us have heard of human trafficking and think it is something awful that happens to people in other parts of the world. Modern day slavery is real and occurring every day in Silicon Valley. A study published in October 2014 entitled “Human Trafficking in Silicon Valley,” compiled by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Not for Sale, and Juniper Networks Foundation Fund, found that California is one of the top four destination states for human trafficking, and the Bay Area is a particular hot spot. This is a $150 billion global criminal activity and it is gaining a foothold in our community. The increase in trafficking activity due to the attraction of a major entertainment event is well documented.
The upcoming 2016 Super Bowl in Santa Clara County provides an opportunity for our community to plan and take collective preventative steps. AAUW’s connection to this global scourge is that the victims of human trafficking, whether in the form of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor, are predominantly women and children, with poverty being the key factor. Silicon Valley has the resources and intellect needed to take on the growing issue of human trafficking. Many local community organizations, including the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking and AAUW San Jose, are coming together to “build capacity through collaboration.”