District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and the human trafficking coalition, Sacramento Together, recognizes January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Spearheaded by DA Schubert in 2015, Sacramento Together is an unprecedented coalition of more than 30 community-based organizations, law enforcement, state and local public agencies working together to combat human trafficking and exploitation in the Sacramento community. The coalition works collaboratively to treat, educate and remove children and young adults from life threatening and exploitive situations. The coalition shares information, maximizes community response and targets assets to better serve victims of sexual and labor exploitation. Members also work together to increase public awareness about human trafficking and educate those who may come in contact with exploited individuals.
As part of the coalition’s Human Trafficking Awareness efforts this year, the Sacramento Together website has been re-launched with an updated design and new information. Visit http://sacramentotogether.org to learn about the coalition’s partners and how they are working together to combat human trafficking, provide services to exploited individuals and reduce the opportunity for exploiters to violate their targets. The website also provides announcements, podcasts, resources and other information about human trafficking in the Sacramento region.
Sacramento Together also conducts annual demand focused stings, called “Operation: Hot Spots.” These countywide coordinated stings target sex buyers to reduce the demand side of human trafficking. Participating law enforcement agencies are the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, Sacramento Police Department, Elk Grove Police Department, Rancho Cordova Police Department, Citrus Heights Police Department and Folsom Police Department as well as the Probation Department, FBI and CHP. A critical component to these operations is outreach to trafficked victims. Victim advocates are involved in sting operations to offer victim services, resource referrals and even backpacks filled with personal items, if needed. These stings have resulted in 103 total arrests for soliciting for prostitution, loitering for prostitution and pandering.
The “Reducing Sexually Exploited & Trafficked (RESET) Court” is a diversion program for young adult women arrested for sex work crimes. The free program provides wrap around trauma-based services, life skills and peer mentoring that give individuals options to better their circumstances in order to get out of a life of exploitation. The program also provides the opportunity to eliminate the criminal record for offenses the participants may have committed, which in the past hampered efforts of those trying to escape a trafficking environment. CASH (Community Against Sexual Harm) provides the wrap around services for the participants.
DA Anne Marie Schubert states, “Thanks to the Sacramento Together coalition, we have made aggressive efforts to arrest and prosecute human traffickers while also prioritizing assistance to exploited individuals. This work is continuing even during these most challenging times. In addition to the work this coalition does, the re-launch of the Sacramento Together website is an important part of raising awareness and providing the public with helpful information about human trafficking so that we can prevent these crimes and protect victims from exploiters.”
If the public suspects someone is a victim of human trafficking, they are asked to call the national Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888), or 911 if there is immediate danger.