Sex and human trafficking are not just major issues internationally: they are local and very real issues in the Sixth District. In our neighborhoods, prostitution is a problem that we live with every day. Houses and apartments in our neighborhoods see the evidence of this crime every day as families walk outside in the evening or early morning and see young women selling themselves.
But more importantly it’s a human rights violation. Last night I was proud to bring experts regarding sex trafficking to North Hills. At the United Methodist Church and with Pastor Fred Morris as our host more than 60 residence gathered to listen to individuals providing services to sex trafficking victims and public servants that are committed to cracking down on pimps and prostitutes. Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking’s Executive Director, Kay Buck spoke to the crowd about their work raising awareness of human trafficking in our community. From individuals that recently came to the country to women and children that are American as well.
Nurse Cynthia Urena from the Center for Assault Treatment Services (C.A.T.S.) discussed their 24-hours a day, 7-days a week services they provide to victims of rape and assault. Noting that more than half of their victims are children, she discussed their work treating women that are being trafficked in the Los Angeles area.
Following, Executive Director Kim Roth of Strength United talking about their services and center and their unique ability to combine services for victims. By working collaboratively, they are able to skip many invasive procedures for the victims.
Mary Magdalene Project’s Executive Director, Dr. Stephany Powell, also spoke directly to parents about the risk that children will be drawn in by pimps and child molesters. Just because victims come from well -adjusted families doesn’t mean that they are exempt from risk. A sergeant with the LAPD Mission Division extrapolated on that point and told the story of girls recruited from local malls.
Assistant City Attorney, Richard Schmidt, talked about his childhood growing up in Panorama City and seeing the transformation. He discussed how their office has worked with mine and the LAPD to crackdown on prostitution and sex trafficking in the City.
This event went wonderfully and concluded with a prayer and vigil hosted by Pastor Fred Morris. I’m proud that is the first event in the District to raise awareness of what we can do to help victims recover their lives.