Oakland is a national hub for the commercial sexual exploitation of children. But Alameda County prosecutors, along with leaders of a nonprofit that helps exploited youth rebuild their lives, hope that bringing the problem into the light will increase arrests while sending a signal to the victimized that there is a way out.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley and Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSSEY) Executive Director Nola Brantley have teamed with Clear Channel Outdoor to launch an educational campaign at Protect Oakland Kids and to plaster the city with billboards, posters and bus shelters underscoring the problem.
Viewing teen girls who sell sex as criminals rather than victims “allows communities to ignore them as invisible,” said O’Malley. “My message is clear: If you see something, community, say something. And to those who are trafficking — buying and selling — my office will prosecute you to the full extent of the law.”
High-crime cities that direct the bulk of enforcement to homicides are more likely to have vibrant markets for child prostitution, Brantley said. Both she and O’Malley, however, credited the Oakland Police Department for joining in the push to treat the youth as victims, while cracking down on pimps and johns.
Learn more at Campaign cracks down on Oakland child-sex trafficking.