SAN FRANCISCO—On Monday, October 31 the City and County of San Francisco Department of the Status of Women released an updated report on human trafficking. This report being the “first-of-its-kind”, documented 499 cases of human trafficking—including labor abuses, in San Francisco during the year of 2015. The report emphasizes the likelihood of duplicity of victims due to the anonymity of data collected from 15 different governments and communities.
The Mayor’s Task Force for Anti-Human trafficking was initially commissioned by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in 2013. According to SF Gate, Lee has made anti-human trafficking one of his administration’s highest priorities. The task force focuses on “long term solutions” through partnerships between agencies, law enforcement, and local organizations,” as indicated by the human trafficking report.
The recent report exhibited 499 cases of human trafficking with 80 percent being females, 122 minors, and 65 cases of victims forced into labor and held against their will. According to experts in the newly released report, the human trafficking industry is worth $32 billion with 17,500 men, women, and children trafficked in the United States annually. The report states that San Francisco is “one of the worst areas in the country for the commercial sexual exploitation of children.”
In order to eliminate any discrepancies, the City and County of San Francisco Department of the Status of Women has created a definition based on state and federal code references for “severe forms of trafficking”:
“Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.”
“Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”
The task force is working to address the “collateral damage” involved with the new anti-trafficking policies that could affect sex workers, migrants, or minors. The report states, “Through discussion and collaboration, we have begun to see how best the Task Force can avoid the common conflation of commercial sex work with human trafficking.”