San Diego County CA— Each year, the crime of human trafficking violates the human rights of approximately 5,000 local adults and children and costs the San Diego economy $800 million dollars. On Saturday, January 13, the Junior League of San Diego will march alongside community members in Balboa Park to bring the issue out of the shadows at its fifth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally.
Human trafficking involves exploitation in many forms, from forcing people into prostitution to subjecting them to slavery or involuntary servitude. Sadly, the FBI names San Diego as one of the 13 areas with the highest rates of child sex trafficking in the nation – and children who are homeless or in the foster care system are especially vulnerable. Sex trafficking is also San Diego’s second largest underground economy after drug trafficking, representing an estimated $810 million in annual revenue.
“Human trafficking affects men, woman and children in San Diego at a rate that shocks many residents,” says Rachel Scatizzi Thompson, Junior League of San Diego President. “At this rally, we’ll offer a glimpse into the stories of victims and empower participants with the knowledge they need to take a stand against this problem that remains hidden all too often.”
As marchers gather at Balboa Park, experts on human trafficking will teach the crowd how to recognize the signs of victims being held captive and how to get involved in anti-trafficking efforts in the region. Speakers will include San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, Free to Thrive President and Managing Attorney Jamie Quient and Saved in America Executive Director and Private Investigation Manager Joseph Travers. Each of these leaders empowers survivors of human trafficking and will provide insight on the issue in San Diego and beyond.
As the Junior League of San Diego continues the fight against human trafficking, it thanks the following community partners for their work and participation in the Human Trafficking Awareness Rally: The Anti Trafficking Liaison Center for Justice & Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University; The Salvation Army; Alabaster Jar Project; and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
Beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, participants will gather at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street in Balboa Park. This is a free event and sponsorships are available. To register, please click here. Community members are invited to share their reasons for marching on social media using #jlsdforchange.