Our fight against human trafficking continues in earnest. We won’t back down – we’ll continue to investigate and arrest the pimps and gang members who are selling our women and girls. To advance this work, I’ve been very busy over the last month.
I spoke on a panel discussing Human Trafficking at the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) Community Forum on June 22nd. I was joined on the panel by LAPD Lieutenant Marc Evans, who leads the Operations Valley Bureau’s Human Trafficking Task Force, as well as Captain Merrill Ladenheim from the County Sheriff’s Department, and Becca Channell from CAST. The panel was moderated by Burbank Councilwoman Emily Gabel Luddy.
Also, this month, I introduced and the Council unanimously passed a pilot program that will train the staff with Summer Night Lights, a Gang Reduction and Youth Development program, to identify and address human trafficking in their work. We know that gang members are often the men pimping out our women and girls, so including training for the teams that are already engaged in gang reduction is likely going to help with preventing human trafficking in our community.
Meanwhile, our Valley Human Trafficking Task Force has been busy as well. At the end of June, the task force reported issuing 1525 citations (with a focus on “Johns”), 55 impounds, 17 arrests of pimps, 138 arrests of “Johns,” 6 girls rescued, 54 victims referred to agencies for support, and 165 meetings in person and electronically with community members. This task force is seeing incredible success in cleaning up the criminal activity along the Lankershim and Sepulveda corridors!