Human trafficking is a scourge of modern society that causes untold harm to those involved. Many of the victims affected by human trafficking are children or those who are in a particularly vulnerable position because of a language barrier, a substance abuse issue or a lack of documentation to live and work in the United States.
Victims of human trafficking often end up arrested and charged along with the people who victimized them, although the state has begun to apply more nuance when prosecuting such offenses. A recent large-scale operation in the San Diego area both highlights progress for victims of human trafficking and exposes issues with changing state laws that have yet to be fully addressed.
Law enforcement agents recently saved eight children from human trafficking
In late February 2023, law enforcement agencies in San Diego took action against a human trafficking operation. Officers rescued eight children and arrested 48 people as part of this enforcement effort.
Much of the trafficking in this case involved underage girls, and there were numerous felony charges brought against the adults involved in the operation. The children involved will receive support and hopefully justice for what they experienced.
Both prosecutors and law enforcement officials questioned whether recent changes to California law may have worsened issues with human trafficking. SB 357, which decriminalized loitering with the intent to commit prostitution, has reportedly contributed to an uptick in aggressive trafficking efforts in the state.
Despite the intent to reduce pressure on specific communities often targeted for aggressive enforcement in the area, the impact of the bill has been to make trafficking easier for criminals victimizing those with little say in the matter.
Trafficking survivors have rights
Businesses like hotels and motels often play a key role in trafficking rings, and sometimes the people involved even have seemingly legitimate positions at a company. It may be possible for those harmed by criminals in a trafficking operation to hold the businesses that profited from those crimes accountable in addition to taking action against the criminals involved.
Civil lawsuits can be an option to hold both those directly involved in trafficking and those whose negligence or misconduct contributed to it accountable for their conduct. Civil action can even target businesses that have turned a blind eye to trafficking on their premises. Thus, discussing the experience that someone has had with a lawyer can help them to fully explore means of seeking justice for the harm that they have endured.