Teaming up to fight sex trafficking on both sides of the border

Authorities are teaming up with the International Network of Hearts to end sex trafficking in San Diego County, which claims an estimated 8,000 victims each year

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Imagine someone you care about gets involved in the dark world of sex trafficking.

It could be a meet up on a side street or a date set up online.

Children are the most vulnerable, but anyone can become a victim; and being handcuffed is just one of many bad outcomes.

“We simply cannot sell children like a slice of pizza on the Internet for the selfish needs and greed of traffickers and criminal buyers,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said.

Law enforcement on both sides of the international border have partnered with agencies like the International Hearts Network, working to end human trafficking; share information, tactics and plans.

Alma Tucker is the President of the International Hearts Network. “We are focused on education, services and prevention so that no child, woman or man has to suffer this horrific crime of human trafficking.”

The key to the battle is to protect those who might be targeted.

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas said identifying those at risk is a start.

“It is important that we identify children and women at risk in our community so that we can advocate for these people through education, prevention and training.”

It is crucial to have someone that at-risk youth and others can trust. Teachers, counselors and school police should all be involved in the battle to fend off those who prey on young people and those who are vulnerable.

Chula Vista Police Captain Dan Peak explained, “To have that confidence, when a student can go to an officer and walk away, ‘I was just targeted online; I was on social media. social, internet.’ To have an officer that they can contact and have that confidence to know that this is going to be properly investigated.”

There are tools that are offered to help those in need, one being the Amber Alert training, which is offered for free.

For more information, contact the Network of Hearts at [email protected]

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