Dear Oakland Community, 

Would you want to live in a safe community where young adults are able to walk on their own without falling into trouble like sex trafficking ? We do too. This proposal is to build awareness in  others that sex trafficking is an issue in the area, and to inform and inspire others to make a change and stand up for this issue. 

The issue of sex trafficking is being addressed because the Oakland community needs to know that chidlren become vicitims when they get manipulated, begin to fear themselves, and it’s not the child’s choice. 

When traffickers look for victims to work with them, they make sure they have something convincing to say. This is when a lot of victims fall for the trafficker. The United States Department of Justice explained how victims can fall for trafficking. They stated “Victims frequently fall prey to traffickers who lure them in with an offer of food, clothes, attention, friendship, love, and a seemingly safe place to sleep” (The United States Department of Justice). Victims who are mostly in need of materialistic items or want to just feel an emotion they’ve never felt/want, are the ones traffickers capture. It affects people from the community mostly young adults because there aren’t any jobs offered for people their age. This issue has caused many changes in people’s (victims)  lives. This part of the issue should also be known by the community because any interested person can get into this problem without even knowing the consequence of it, or even knowing how horrible of an experience it can be. 

The offering of wanting items or feelings by the traffickers is not the only horrible part of sex trafficking, they can’t even be themselves. As The United States Department of Justice explained the definition of sex trafficking, they also explained what was done while the trafficking happens. They stated “It is common for traffickers to isolate victims by moving them far away from friends and family, altering their physical appearances, or continuously moving them to new locations” (The United States Department of Justice). The victims are put apart from their loved ones and also told to change their physical appearance so they won’t be recognized. The traffickers bring harm to these victims because they’re being put apart and they have to change their appearance. Being away from loved ones brings a lot of danger to young adults who probably don’t know how to be on their own, and more when they’re told to do sexual actions around unknown people. This issue can even bring the person to mental illnesses if they’re not okay with what they’re obligated to do, but they do it all for what they will get in exchange, that can be money, friendship, they’re threatened, or etc. The safety of these victims can be changed with the support of the community if effort is really put in. 

As the issue gets more serious for the victims to deny or accept the offer themselves, it’s not always them making their own decision. Parents can also put their child’s into this purposely. Ark for Hope for Children, is an organization to get Justice for those children going through sex trafficking, including statics with information based on this topic. They mentioned “Some children are even sold to traffickers by their families, who may or may not have an understanding of what will happen to the child” (Ark). Victims at times can be harmed by their own parents by selling them to traffickers. They probably don’t know what harm they’re putting their child, and the sad part could be that certain people come from the struggle and would want to do it all for the money or any other favor. This can bring harm to victims when they don’t know what they will be doing for the traffickers, or they’re denying it but are still being forced to do it. If families are not aware of what they’re putting their child into, that can change with the community being more knowledge on the topic, or teaching one another. If they do know what’s done to the victims, the community can speak up on why that shouldn’t be an option. The Alameda County and Bay Area is one of the sex trafficking capitals in the U.S. With that being said, it is really dangerous to those that have no  idea of what this issue can get them into.

To do personal research and get more following answers about sex trafficking, a survey was done by me based on the public health issue. This survey was taken by Oakland community, both kids and adults because we’re focused on the sex trafficking in Oakland. I only got 15 responses, but those were enough to realize that with such a little amount of people 12 people knew what sex trafficking was, but 40.0% of the participants are not aware of the sex trafficking in Oakland. The effects from this health issue in the community is it’s unsafe for the environment of the community because it’s a horrible way for young adults to get something in return from the traffickers, or to even get mistreated. Traffickers can mistreat the victim and that’s something that’s unsafe for the community.Figure 1 : Sex trafficking seen in Oakland. 40.0% of the participants that took the survey hasn’t seen sex traffcking in Oakland. The 25.0% of  “Maybe’s”  is being considered for those that might’ve not been sure of what sex trafficking is and were not sure if they witnessed victims. 

Figure 2 is titled : How aware is the community of Oakland about Sex Trafficking ? Most of the people that took the survey are aware of the issue and only 3 know very little about it. 

Figure 3 : Opinion on Job Opportunities of Victims 13-18 Years of age: There is an agreement from others on having jobs at an early age, so they won’t seek money or other necessities somewhere else like with traffickers.

Based on my survey I seen most people are aware of what sex trafficking is , but they’ve never seen it in Oakland, or they’re probably not aware of it being in the community. If they’re not aware of what’s going on, there is more risk in the streets for other innocent lives to fall for this health issue. Sex trafficking should be known for the safety of others, and to make a change. The community is somewhat aware of what sex trafficking is, and has seen it in Oakland. They are also willing to want to make a change of this issue. 

Aim #1 Virtual : Make others aware of Sex Trafficking through Social Media

Based on my research most victims are teens or are in their early 20s. Social media is used a lot during these ages so while they scroll through their social media they’ll see important posts about this public health issue. This will be effective because it’ll inform how to avoid the issue, or learn about it. For those that don’t have social media or even a phone aim #2 wil be used.. Most information will be used from the internet. The supplies that will be is a phone or a device that has access to social media. The information being posted will be 1 time a day with information of what it is, why it is an issue, and how to avoid it. We expect people that won’t put a lot of attention to it because social media has a lot of content that can catch their attention more easily.

Aim #2 if Shelter in Place Ends: Aware Students During School Time or Maybe After School

As an Upstander I want the community to know what’s going on, so for those that don’t have social media or even a phone, posters can be put around school campus or even on bus stops. When people wait on their bus they can read the poster that will have informative ways to avoid sex trafficking, or know the real issue of it to get inspired to make a change as well. Schools should also teach this issue just because this is where young people spend most of their time during the week, and it’s a real life issue. It should be included in lessons like Sex ED just because students are being developed and should know about the real public health issues occuring to people their age or even a little older, in their communities. Students getting taught this at the right age can decrease trafficking. An obstacle that can occur is I expect posters being put down or students not being interested with the lesson.

Aim #3 : If I had no limitations (unlimited funding and access): Have More Security in the Streets Where Sex Trafficking is Most Seen

People in the community can speak on saying where they’ve mostly seen this issue happen. Security will then be hired to guard the place. Having more security only for this cause will prevent trafficking movements from occurring, and capturing the criminals. This will be a huge decreasement for the community turning it into a safer place. If this method works securities will get paid up to $20 an hour just because they’re keeping the community safe. If not they’ll get paid $9 an hour if there’s not a lot of movement. The only necessity would be having honest and trustworthy people working as security in the neighborhood to capture traffickers. Finally, an expected obstacle would be traffickers would notice the securities and move to different areas.

As an Upstander I’ll have strong ways to know if I’ve succeeded on my three action plans. One strong way is noticing the decreasement of trafficking in the community, not just by me but by staying in contact with local businesses near the criminals. They’ll say whether or not it has made a change. Then, I’ll measure success by checking if I’ve received followers through social media, and how often people view my profile to see my posts. This will be the quantitative and qualitative data collected on top of having the data from decreasing victims being seen. 

Thank you to all, and I hope as a community a change will be made on this serious public health issue.   

Work Cited

“What Are the Statistics on Human Trafficking of Children?” Ark of Hope for Children, 9 Apr. 2019, https://arkofhopeforchildren.org/child-trafficking/child-trafficking-statistics.

“Child Sex Trafficking.” The United States Department of Justice, 25 July 2017, www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/child-sex-trafficking.

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