San Joaquin County, California, long a commercial crossroads, also finds itself at the center of international human trafficking. A 2012 report, The State of Human Trafficking in California, released by the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris addresses the problem statewide and calls for creation of safe, long-term shelters for trafficking victims.
To that end, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael have given the Stockton-based Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services a $10,000 grant to create the county’s first anti-human trafficking program. “The easiest way for the layperson to see it is as modern-day slavery,” Kate Macek, marketing and development director at the Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services said. “A lot of people see it as children and in other countries. It’s not just that. It is a huge problem with a lot of different nuances to it and so much of it is right under our noses.”
Macek said the grant will help raise awareness, identify victims, obtain help for those who need it, and improve collaboration with law enforcement and other social-service agencies. A primary goal will be training in recognition of those trapped in human trafficking.
“It is just huge. We want to make sure we’re doing all that we can. We’re starting with outreach and awareness,” Macek said of the grant funds. “We know we will continue to see victims, but in terms of a broader program that is targeted toward services, that is probably down the road. This is a first step.”
Learn more at Kevin Parrish’s Recordnet.com article: Women’s Center gets $10K to fight human trafficking.