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Santa Monica Launches Project to Combat Human Trafficking
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

September 15, 2016 -- Santa Monica officials are wasting no time in implementing a plan approved by the City Council Tuesday night to tackle human trafficking, the City Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

The project will launch this month with the distribution in Santa Monica of a free poster in English, Spanish and Chinese that provides national and California hotline information.

"In other jurisdictions, one effect of the hotline posters has been a 250 percent increase in calls from that city to the human trafficking hotline," said Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades.

"We've put together a plan and a poster with the goal of reaching a similar increase in reporting," he said.

The posters will be sent to businesses required by state law to display human trafficking hotline resources, along with a letter describing the legal obligations to display it, City officials said.

These include bars and nightclubs, adult or sexually-oriented business, massage or bodywork businesses, light rail and bus stations, hospital emergency rooms and privately operated job recruitment centers.

Human trafficking is one of the nation's fastest-growing criminal enterprises, netting $9 billion a year, officials said. a $9 billion industry.

As many as 17,500 victims are trafficked annually, many of them in LA County, a major trafficking destination.

According to the state and federal laws, human trafficking victims include "anyone who is coerced to engage in any activity and cannot leave—whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, construction, factory, retail, or restaurant work, or any other activity," officials said.

The City Attorneys Office has joined the Human Trafficking Task Force and will continue working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Human Trafficking Bureau, the National Council of Jewish Women|Los Angeles (NCJW), and City of Santa Monica's Commission on the Status of Women (COSM) to develop the project.

The hotline numbers include the California Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) at 1-888-539-2373 and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.

For more information, visit the CAO's Consumer Protection Division's web page at smconsumer.org.


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