Human Trafficking Survivors: A Valuable Resource for Stakeholders

By Beth Bruno No comments

Survivors of Human Trafficking

Survivors are a valuable resource for anti-trafficking stakeholders, including police departments, legislators, and advocacy organizations. They should be engaged in meaningful ways to craft victim-centered and trauma-informed policies.

Debt bondage, a form of slavery in which traffickers manipulate debt to compel labor or commercial sex, continues despite legal prohibitions. It can occur in private homes, hotels, and massage parlors.


Human traffickers often lure victims into their clutches by using a number of methods, including false promises of well-paying jobs, romantic relationships, manipulation and threats. These criminals prey on those who are vulnerable or seeking a better life, especially those with limited resources and support systems.

Educating people on how to recognize human trafficking is one of the most effective ways to prevent it. Educate children on the warning signs of human trafficking, and encourage parents to talk to their kids about the dangers.

Host an awareness event to watch and discuss a human trafficking documentary, such as the film “The Harvest”. Or, invite speakers to your church or community group to share their stories and experiences in a candid manner. Encourage local schools to include human trafficking in their curricula. This could be as simple as a class on child sexual exploitation or a discussion about safe travel routes for minors. You can also promote anti-trafficking awareness in the workplace by encouraging your company to become trauma-informed and promoting workplace safety.


The problem is getting worse, according to officials. California is the top state in the country for human trafficking cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The crime is prevalent in the hospitality, commercial sex, and domestic work industries. It also occurs in agriculture and construction.

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer says the issue is more complex than most people realize. “It’s not just catching the traffickers,” she said. “It’s also identifying the victims and preventing them from being trafficked.”

KCAHT is working to address these issues by providing practical assistance for rescued victims, such as helping them attain their driver’s license or pay for college books. They also educate faith-based organizations and schools about human trafficking.

A multiagency task force recently arrested 22 suspects in Bakersfield during a four-day sexual predator apprehension operation. The investigation, known as Operation Bad Barbie, targeted adults who sought to exploit children through websites and social media that allow adults to meet minors for lewd acts. The suspects were charged with California Penal Code violations, including PC 266h-pimping, PC 266i-pandering, and PC 288.3-contacting a minor for lewd purposes.

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