January 20, 2022
Human Trafficking Proclamation 2022

I appreciate the opportunity to bring this Human Trafficking Proclamation to the board for the third year. 

Every year we come before you to remind the board and community about the continued struggle faced by people who have been trafficked.

The survivors of trafficking are often those who are most marginalized in our community– women, people of color, and those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

These communities continue to experience both the highest needs and the least support. 

Human traffickers prey on those who are most vulnerable: those experiencing poverty, those feeling isolated or unheard, and those who look for acceptance and support - because those essential elements of survival have been lacking in their lives. 

It’s important that we continue to fund services that we know provide a way out of this life. The best way to do that is to work directly with survivors to understand what they need and want from their government. 

I am excited that this year I get to tell you that not only are we continuing the hard work of making sure those who are experiencing trafficking are being provided the services and support that they need, but  that we are also focusing on how we create a system with their leadership - the leadership of survivors - at the helm. 

These last three years have shown me that true survivor leadership is so much more than having a few representatives sit on a committee or advocate on behalf of a policy or program. 

Survivor leadership is about putting survivors' voices first, centering what they know will work for those with similar experiences, and using that knowledge to implement programs and services that will reach their goals. 

I am pleased to say that the Sex Trafficking Collaborative, which I chair, has taken this idea and made it a central part of our work, by creating a Community Advisory Board (CAB) comprised of survivors; and that the CAB will be guiding us as we move forward in our work.

As we move into this next year, I look forward to taking what we have learned and continuing to center survivor voice in other related areas including domestic violence and sexual assault. 

And now, I want to welcome our new Sex Trafficking Senior Strategist Claire Barrera. While Claire is new to the County and this position, They are not new to the work of Sex Trafficking. Claire has been a great partner with the County as a staff person at El Programma Unica and has been a fierce advocate for survivors of sex trafficking for many years. 

Thank you Claire for joining our team and helping to continue our work to prevent sex trafficking. You can take it from here.