Big news this week, San Diego County law enforcement stepped it up last week in a statewide sweep that resulted in more than 400 people arrested for the exploitation of young women and girls. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild recovered 28 sexually manipulated and abused children and 27 women, and 142 suspected buyers of this ever growing underground industry. In our county alone, 38 people were arrested, including 22 buyers.
Big news this week, San Diego County law enforcement stepped it up last week in a statewide sweep that resulted in more than 400 people arrested for the exploitation of young women and girls. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild recovered 28 sexually manipulated and abused children and 27 women, and 142 suspected buyers of this ever growing underground industry. In our county alone, 38 people were arrested, including 22 buyers. This is the third year of this operation and as the sex trafficking industry grows, it is important to save these vulnerable and exposed victims.
This is something to be applauded and fully backed by the community. Sexual slavery and human trafficking is alive and well, and those that purchase “these goods” deserve to be exposed and prosecuted.
I have a couple of views on this. With consenting adults, even though many might not agree I believe that prostitution should be legalized. That would save many tax payer dollars, could be regulated for health and safety reasons and would give our law enforcement more time and energy in nabbing and knocking down whom I believe are the real criminals. Those that force women, men, boys and girls of all ages to have sex with anyone that will pay for it. Sexual slavery is horrendous, and for me those that sell it and buy it should be locked away for the rest of their lives.
San Diego is in the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in our nation. The U.S. State department estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, with 80 percent being female, and half of those are children. The average teen is 12 to 14-years old. This is a heart-wrenching number and sickens the soul.
Sex trafficking is a common topic within my family. With our proximity to the border and children within this “perfect” age range, as a family, we openly discuss the dangers with the children in our family, starting very early in life, even before they fully understand the ramifications or even a true understanding of what sex trafficking is. This is a subject matter that needs to be addressed, and the earlier the better. There are many ways of approaching the subject from making sure they follow certain rules early in life like on their way back and forth to school. Simple safety tips, without a lot of explanation of why it’s essential and doable in the adolescent years. But as they leave adolescence and head into their preteen years, as difficult as it may be for a parent or guardian, it is the stark details of the sex trafficking industry that they need to know and comprehend. This keeps our children alert, active and hopefully in the long run, safe from these sexual predators.
Not only do we need to keep them informed of the dangers in the world around them, we need to make them able to tackle it head on if encountered. Basic self-defense for a child is a necessity in today’s world and it can be done without turning the child into a bully. And most important, when approaching this subject with our youth, it is imperative to realize that they are not as unaware as many of us believe that they are, or should be because we had an easier and less problematic upbringing. I see a lot of workshops and events for us adults that talk about the signs of sexual trafficking, what to look for, who to contact and what we need to know about sex trafficking in our region. But what I would like to see is a forum where parents can bring their teenagers, preteens and adolescents to where experts in the field can break down this ever-growing and ever-changing black market industry to their level.
This can be a difficult thing for parents to do alone, and in many cases, our children get immune to our lectures of safety and making it a public forum, catered to their ages will also bring the discussion of every day safety within their own peer groups.