Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. Exploitation of a minor for commercial sex is human trafficking, regardless of whether any form of force, fraud, or coercion was used. Human trafficking does not require travel or transportation of the victim across local, state or international borders.

There is no single profile of a trafficking victim. Many victims of human trafficking are boys and girls who were born and raised here in California. Trafficking victims come from diverse backgrounds in terms of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, education level, and citizenship status, but one characteristic that they usually share is some form of vulnerability. Trafficking victims are often isolated from their families and social networks and, in some cases, are separated from their country of origin, native language, and culture. Many domestic victims of sex trafficking are runaway or homeless youth and/or come from backgrounds of sexual and physical abuse, incest, poverty, or addiction. Traffickers exploit these vulnerabilities, promising the victims love, a good job, or a more stable life.

This panel will look at how California’s students are being victimized and what schools can do to help end this horrendous practice.

Dr. Brian Leung, CASP President, will moderate the panel.

Danett Williams is an advocate for child sex trafficking awareness within the United States and has worked for Foster Care Kinship, training foster parents and related staff to identify and respond to children who have been trafficked. Ms. Williams lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, a major hub of child sex trafficking. She serves as a community advocate who strives to educate, bring awareness, and prevent domestic child sex trafficking, particularly familial trafficking. She hopes to create a residential school for sexually trafficked boys, a population severely lacking resources. She holds an Educational Specialist degree in school psychology from the University of Missouri and is the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Chair for CASP.

Hanne Fellers works in outreach for Zoe International, a faith-based, non-profit agency that works to create safe and nurturing environments for child trafficking survivors. Employing a strict Child Protection Policy, Zoe International works to ensure the child is protected from all forms of abuse. Its Child Protection Policy covers standards of conduct, recruitment, and screening of staff.

Sergeant Michael O’Brien has been a Deputy Sheriff with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for over 27 years. During his career, he has been assigned to Corrections, Patrol, Traffic, MAIT, MET, Gangs, Narcotics, SWAT, Civil Liabilities and Specialized Investigations. In June 2012, he graduated from SBSLI Class 308, and is a 2014 recipient of the Sheriff’s Medal of Valor. In May 2017, he was selected and assigned to head the newly formed San Bernardino County Regional Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task Force is a multi-agency collaboration, made up of investigators from local, state and federal agencies.