The City’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) program hosts a summer series each year called Summer Night Lights. Summer Night Lights is a public and private partnership directed at strengthening community resiliency to the influence of gangs and gang violence. It operates in 32 locations across the City of Los Angeles, keeping recreation centers and parks open between the hours of 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. throughout the summer months. Two of those locations are in the Sixth District: Sepulveda Recreation Center and Sun Valley Recreation Center.
We know that behind the ugly face of human trafficking there’s a criminal enterprise that’s profiting off of selling our women and children. We have learned over the past few years that many of those criminal pimps are gang members. They’re learning that you can only sell a bag of drugs one time – but you can sell a teenage sex slave over and over and over again. A human trafficking victim is much more profitable to a gang member, so many of our human trafficking victims are the result of gang violence we never even know about in the community.
That’s why, I initiated a pilot program this year, in our district and that of Council President Herb Wesson, to use Summer Night Lights to fight human trafficking. The GRYD crews at Summer Night Lights are trained to help identify and prevent gang violence we’re more familiar with – but with my pilot program, the staff in CD6 and CD10 will get specialized training to identify and prevent human trafficking at the Summer Night Lights programs in our districts. We hope that we will prevent any more young women and girls from being targeted by gang members for sex trafficking by using GRYD and Summer Night Lights to intercede early!We’re sending the message to those who would sell or buy our women and girls: We’re coming for you at every angle! We will keep up this fight!