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Combating Human Trafficking

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Updated on: 8/5/2015 2:53 PM

“Human trafficking denies many County residents basic human dignities and strains the County's safety net by increasing the need for law enforcement to combat the issue.”

Cindy Chavez

The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Commission – co-chaired by Supervisor Cindy Chavez, District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith – held its first meeting Aug. 19 to focus County resources on what has been called “modern day slavery”  – the use of force, fraud or coercion to exploit people for commercial sex or labor. (Click on the image to see video of the full meeting; advance the time bar to the 5:00 mark to reach the beginning).

"The goal here is illuminating the issue and unifying in terms of purpose," Chavez told the San Jose Mercury News (full story here). "This isn't saying people aren't already doing valiant work, it's about how we can ramp it up."

The Commission includes representatives of local government offices such as the County Council, Public Defender, Social Services Agency, Office of Women’s Policy, police chiefs and Superior Court plus non-governmental organizations such as the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, business and labor.

Supervisor Dave Cortese announced Oct. 1 that the Sheriff's Anti-Human Trafficking Team -- created with part of an $850,000 addition to the County budget in June -- is already producing results by rescuing a 22-year-old woman from sex slavery.

  • Watch video coverage of the full meeting with agenda here.
  • Stay up to date with the Human Trafficking Commission’s work by subscribing to Cindy’s newsletter here.
  • Read Supervisor Dave Cortese's budget request, adopted June 20, to fund three members of the Sheriff's Department and an attorney and criminal investigator in the District Attorney's office here.
  • Learn more about human trafficking at the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking website, which includes an informative page on the myths and realities surrounding this dreadful scourge. Here's what you can do.
  • A full rundown of state-level legislative efforts to combat human trafficking can be found here.
  • If you think you have encountered an instance of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888 or, if it’s an emergency, call 911.
  • Here’s the San Jose Mercury News’ June 6, 2014 editorial on the Human Trafficking Commission.
  • Read the San Jose Mercury News op-ed Cindy co-authored with District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith.
  • Read the San Francisco Chronicle’s story and editorial on human trafficking.
  • Cindy joined with her Board colleagues to declare “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” to increase public awareness of the problem. Here’s a press release on the proclamation.
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