Bay area remains prominent human trafficking hotspot

80% of Human Trafficking reported in California occurs in Los Angeles, San Diego and the Bay Area.

Many students at Dougherty feel quite safe attending a closed campus school with security guards. However, it is commonly forgotten that San Ramon is a mere 25 miles away from the colossal human trafficking hotspot, Oakland, Calif. Recently, in a five year period, there have been 1,782 reported human trafficking prostitution incidents, in which most cases involved minors.

Yet other sex-related crimes occur closer to home. For instance, just one week before the beginning of the school year, Diablo Vista Middle School math teacher Mitchell Wolf was arrested on suspicion  of possessing child pornography. At neighboring California High School, Wrestling Coach Kevin Lopez, 27, is facing 13 counts of lewd acts on a child 14 to 15 years old .

Child pornography is just as horrific as forced prostitution. 55 percent of child pornography occurs in the United States. Every year, the human trafficking industry profits $9.5 billion, making it the most profitable criminal activity. 50 percent of human trafficking victims in the United States are minors, and 82 percent of them are female.

The American youth cannot afford to lose more of the next generation to human trafficking. It is important to develop the skills and insight to avoid situations surrounding the many issues surrounding human trafficking. People need to be aware that even the simplest of actions could indeed be a rouse to victimize youth into the human trafficking agenda.

Last semester, when one of the Dougherty Physical Education classes went on a walk to Safeway, a car supposedly followed the class there. On the walk back, a few girls from the class were approached by the car and began to talk to the man inside. Negligent behavior like this puts girls at risk of becoming victims.

It is estimated that 300,000 children in the United States are at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. One in every 30 children are victims.

Human trafficking is a serious crime, and it is important for students to stay aware of their surroundings. If you or someone you know wants to report a tip or request services, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center can be contacted at 1-888-373-7888 or