The Inland Empire Child Exploitation and Prostitution task force, comprised of officers from various local California police departments and the FBI, rescued two sex trafficked juvenile girls. The task force is tasked with investigating matters of child exploitation, primarily the sexual trafficking of minors. Authorities coordinated and led several operations to identify and recover victims of sexual trafficking, resulting in the recovery of the two girls, as well as 16 arrests on charges including pandering, pimping, prostitution and human trafficking.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos has taken the reins of this issue that continues to plague the county. In 2012, prosecutors filed 338 prostitution-related cases, 37 of which were minors. Ramos recently announced several new directives to strengthen his zero-tolerance policy on human trafficking.
San Bernardino County Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Coordinator Anne-Michelle Ellis pointed out, “It’s not just the kids from ‘those’ neighborhoods or ‘those’ families. All children are vulnerable, and the biggest vulnerability is their age.” According to president and executive director of Forgotten Children Inc. Pastor Paula Daniels, “Currently 1 in 3 children are at risk of becoming victimized by a domestic trafficker and an average of 2,185 children go missing each day or every 1 1/2 minutes, worldwide. Those who patronize the commercial sex industry are the ones that keep these victims in bondage.”
Learn more at Doug Saunders’ Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article: Two girls rescued from Inland Empire underworld; several arrests in human trafficking sting.