Combating human trafficking in San Diego—yes, it’s a local issue.

Becker’s Hospital Review recently published an article I wrote with Dr. Hanni Stoklosa, founder of HEAL Trafficking, titled: “The role of health systems in combating human trafficking.” Though they’re often viewed as issues overseas, both labor and sex trafficking are present in San Diego as well.

Research from Point Loma Nazarene University found that “sex trafficking in San Diego County represents an estimated $810 million in annual revenue and impacts more than 1,766 commercially sexually exploited persons a year, mostly teenage girls with an average age of entry below 15 years old.”

In addition, San Diego State University researchers estimate that up to “31% of undocumented, Spanish-speaking migrant workers interviewed in San Diego County had experienced labor trafficking.”

Health system leaders can help combat human trafficking by implementing a protocol and educating staff on the signs of trafficking. HEAL Trafficking offers various resources for organizations, such as a human trafficking protocol toolkit. For more information, contact me and read our article here.

Christopher K. Lee, MPH, CPHQ is Clinical Solutions Marketing Manager at Family Health Centers of San Diego.

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