Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a criminal business that profits from enslaving people for sexual servitude and forced labor. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, It is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world today. It is second only to drug trafficking and tied with illegal arms.

Human trafficking exists all over the United States, but California is a hot spot for domestic and international human trafficking. This is due to its extensive ports, international borders, large economy, large population, and metropolitan regions.

The average entry age of American minors into the sex trade is 12-14
years old.
  • Many victims are runaway girls and boys who have already suffered sexual abuse as children.
  • California harbors 3 of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.
  • Foreign nationals are also brought into the U.S. as slaves for labor or commercial sex through force or fraud.
  • The prevalence and anonymity of the internet has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking, making the trade of women and children easier than ever before.
The Richmond Police Department along with its community partners are committed to combating commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking in our area. We are dedicated to identifying and rescuing victims of trafficking, as well as locating and arresting the perpetrators of this crime.

We will work closely with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office to prosecute the suspects and work with advocacy groups to provide services and support to the victims.

You, the community, can also play a vital role in combating human trafficking. An informed community is an empowered community. If you believe someone you know is a victim, resources are available to help.
Richmond Police Dispatch Center non-emergency number. You can request to remain anonymous. (510) 233-1214
Victim Services and Information
The West Contra Costa Family Justice Center
The West Contra Costa Family Justice Center is a one stop multi-services center for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, human trafficking, and elder abuse. The Center offers a myriad of services under one roof; including counseling, legal assistance, housing, emergency shelter, and employment.
Contact Information:
Family Justice Center
256 24th Street
Richmond, CA   94804
(510) 965-4949
Community Violence Solutions (CVS)
Founded in 1974, Community Violence Solutions, the umbrella organization for the Rape Crisis Center of Contra Costa and Marin Counties, is one of the oldest rape crisis centers in California, and one of the oldest in the country. They provide intervention and prevention services for victims of human trafficking.
Contact Information:
2101 Van Ness Street
San Pablo, CA   94806
(800) 670-7273
M.I.S.S.S.E.Y. INC. (Child Trafficking) Oakland
M.I.S.S.S.E.Y. INC. Is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting , and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth. It is a safe place alternative that provides housing, counseling, and other resources.
Contact Information:
436 14th St.
Ste. 150
Oakland, CA   94612
(510) 251-2070
(510) 290-6097

Myths & Misconceptions

Myth : Human trafficking does not occur in the United States. It only happens in other countries.

Fact: Human trafficking exists in every country, including the United States. It exists nationwide—in cities, suburbs, and rural towns—and possibly in your own community.

Myth: Human trafficking victims are only foreign born individuals and those who are poor.

Fact: Human trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. They may come from any socioeconomic group.

Myth: Human trafficking is only sex trafficking.

Fact : Sex trafficking exists, but it is not the only type of human trafficking. Forced labor is 
another type of human trafficking; both involve exploitation of people. Victims are found in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, including sweatshops, massage parlors, agriculture, restaurants, hotels, and domestic service.

Myth: Individuals must be forced or coerced into commercial sex acts to be victims of human trafficking.

Fact : Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 who is induced to perform 
commercial sex acts is a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether he or she is forced or coerced.

Myth: Human trafficking and human smuggling are the same.

Fact : Human trafficking is not the same as smuggling. “Trafficking” is based on exploitation 
and does not require movement across borders. “Smuggling” is based on movement and involves moving a person across a country’s border with that person’s consent in violation of immigration laws. Human smuggling can turn into trafficking if the smuggler uses force, fraud, or coercion to hold people against their will for the purposes of labor or sexual exploitation. Under federal law, every minor induced to engage in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking.

Myth: Human trafficking victims will attempt to seek help when in public.

Fact : Human trafficking is often a hidden crime. Victims may be afraid to come forward and 
get help; they may be forced or coerced through threats or violence; they may fear retribution from traffickers, including danger to their families; and they may not be in possession of or have control of their identification documents.