Human trafficking is a violent act against humanity. Traffickers and purchasers of those who are victimized lack a conscience, remorse, or respect for the women, men, children, and youth who are victimized by the atrocities that occur when one is trafficked. Each day in our Sonoma County community more victims are held hostage and so we take this month of January to honor those survivors of these crimes against humanity that have been dealt them. We use this time to heighten our community’s awareness that Verity and many community partners are committed to ending this crime and to seeing that both traffickers and purchasers are held accountable for what they have done to those they have victimized.
This year Sonoma County’s Human Trafficking Task Force is hosting film events and having billboards placed in strategic parts of our county to both heighten awareness and to bring forth discussion as to how we, as a community, can put an end to this vicious crime and support those survivors to reclaim their lives in dignity and with respect.
Did you know?
Verity advocates have some important information about trafficking in our county to share with you:
- Verity worked with over 40 human trafficking victims last year by providing crisis intervention, food, shelter, transportation, referrals and much more.
- The average age for a victim be forced into the sex industry in Sonoma County is estimated to be between 12-14 years.
- Victims are usually targeted based on vulnerability. Homelessness, experience in foster care, previous experiences of sexual or domestic violence, and younger age all play a factor in a victim’s susceptibility to being trafficked.
- Perpetrators or “buyers” come from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds. Our advocates have seen engineers, bankers, brew-masters, jewelers, attorneys, photographers, marijuana growers, laborers, and others. We’ve seen married men, fathers, single men, and a son-in-law gifting purchased sex to his father-in-law.