That is more people than a packed Sutter Health Park on game day and just a 1,000 less than the entire population of the city of Auburn.
It’s a lot of people.
Why is that number important? It is the number of people we estimate have been trafficked in Sacramento County between 2015-2020, based on a comprehensive, 3-year research study conducted by RTI, Int., Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research, and CASH. That is thirteen thousand, seventy-nine community members who were sold for sex either as children or through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. That is also the number of people who have been bought by others in our community.
We took on this project because as the only organization in Sacramento County exclusively serving women who have been commercially sexually exploited, we knew that we were only scratching the surface of the actual need. Every year we serve more women, and often, their children. Even with this effort, we now know that for every person we are serving, there may be 11 more that are not being identified or served.
You can read the full report here and you can listen to a short interview with Capacity radio here (we start at 14:00 minutes).
Now, the important question is, what’s next?
PREVENTION is next.
ACCESS to services and stabilizing resources is next.
Addressing the DEMAND for children and sex-trafficked people is next.
We all have a role. Service providers, doctors, nurses, teachers, law enforcement – we need you. Librarians, shop owners, bus drivers, salon owners, restaurant workers, churches, government, COMMUNITY MEMBERS, we need you, too. Vulnerable people are falling through the cracks. Young people who have grown up in very low opportunity places, mothers, young men, and transgender people are falling through the cracks.
We need to fill in the cracks.
We need to help people when they are hurting or when they have serious needs before they are trafficked. And, we need to make our services and systems safe and useful for everyone. That is going to take us all.
Would you like to continue this conversation? Email Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org.