SAN FRANCISCO—A new city report studying the the data of 19 non-profit organizations, states that nearly 300 young women were victims of sex trafficking in San Francisco in the last half of 2014. Local San Francisco non-profits and larger government agencies dedicated to helping survivors of human trafficking, reported approximately 291 people they believed to be suspected or confirmed survivors of human trafficking. The report estimates that the human trafficking industry is a $32-billion-a-year industry in the world, and that approximately 17,500 men, women, and children are trafficked into the United States each year.

The report was released by the Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking, and states that of these 291 victims, 224 were young females; including 118 girls who were under the age of 18, and 12 girls who were 13-years-old or younger.

Executive director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Emily Murase, stated that, “It’s just a fraction of what is actually happening.” Earlier this year, in February, Murase and President of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez, hosted a workshop that focused on human trafficking awareness.

The workshop was part of The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and battled the cause by “combining government, civil society, and tech industry to fight the hidden epidemic of human trafficking in San Francisco and beyond.” Both female advocates have played an integral part in spreading awareness for the epidemic they call “modern slavery,” and periodically present awareness events to help their audience identify and prevent victimization.

In a press release from the Human Trafficking Month of Awareness, the San Francisco Section’s Coordinator and President of the National Council of Jewish Women stated that, “It is essential that the young people in our communities have the knowledge, resources and support to both protect themselves and take a stand again practices that deny a person’s right to live a life free from violence, exploitation and slavery.”

San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Marcus-Woods commented that the city is now working with hotels and businesses to try to spot potential trafficking situations and prevent them from happening. In a recent statement, Marcus-Woods stated that the city is taking initiative to address the problem by providing services to victims instead of recognizing them to be prostitutes who are breaking the law.

Anyone seeking additional information or is suspecting a potential human trafficking situation is advised to call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888 or text 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”).