Research Shows San Diego is a Center for Human Trafficking

San Diego is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the country but new research shows it is also a hugely profitable area for human trafficking.

$800 Million Per Year Economy

A three-year study, funded by the Department of Justice (DOJ), estimates the underground sex trafficking economy in San Diego County tops $800 million a year.

Co-author Dr. Jamie Gates, a sociologist at Point Loma Nazarene University, told CBN News, “it’s phenomenally lucrative.”

The DOJ trafficking study team interviewed more than 50 traffickers in San Diego and found most to be controlling between four and five people at a time, each who would make more than $100,000 a year.

Jessica Kim is a Point Loma graduate, but years ago, she was controlled by a trafficker in San Diego. “My stepfather was the trafficker and it began at the age of 12,” she told CBN News.

How Trafficking Victims are Groomed

Kim says that when her stepfather came into her life at age 7, he showered her with gifts and began to build her trust by providing her with love and attention. He then began to take her away from her mother on trips.

When the trafficking began, he convinced her that she was responsible for the family’s financial stability. Kim says he would tell her “if you don’t go to ‘work’ we don’t get to eat today. If you don’t go to ‘work’ then we don’t get to pay for the rent and we need a place to stay.”

Escape After a Year of Careful Planning

At age 18, Kim was finally able to escape but says it took a year of careful planning because she was caught on her first attempt and her trafficker had taken all her legal documents.

As an adult, she says she knew that she had been sexually abused but didn’t realize that she had been trafficked until she went to a conference on trafficking with a friend and began to hear the speaker list the characteristics of victims. “I had a panic attack,” said Kim. “I was so in shock – I actually had to get up and leave. I ran out of the building.”

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Source: CBN