‘We Can Play a Role to Combat Modern-Day Slavery’: Alameda Unveils Plan to Combat Human Trafficking 

By Fatimah Patel, Jonathan Lewis and Hailey Cairns 

OAKLAND, CA – “When you think of human trafficking, you may think of crimes that occur in far-off places…but that is not the reality. These crimes are happening right here in our backyard,” opined Pamela Y. Price, Alameda County District Attorney, last week.

In fact, Price said, “Alameda County is the third highest ‘hot spot’ for human trafficking in the U.S.,” prompting Price and Robert Schmitt, Regional President of Northern California at Clear Channel Outdoor, to launch their human trafficking awareness program. 

Their billboard campaign is designed to educate the public about human trafficking, primarily sex and labor trafficking, and encourage victims to seek help. 

It also features Clear Channel bus shelters displaying messages from real survivors, “showing other potential victims that seeking help is available.”

DA Price noted, “My office hopes that public awareness of these crimes will increase the likelihood that they will be reported, and perpetrators will be brought to justice.” 

Schmitt and Price said they believe that through education, they can prevent more of their community members from falling victim to this heinous crime.

“We all can play a role to combat modern-day slavery,” Schmitt added. “By educating the community on the various forms of human trafficking occurring in our own neighborhoods, we can help prevent the next person from falling victim to this crime.

“Our hope is that victims will also see these life-saving messages on our billboards as a sign that they are not alone and that there is support available,” he explains. 

From January 2006 to Dec. 31, 2022, 943 defendants were charged and 716 were convicted in sex trafficking-related cases in Alameda County, according to the office of the former Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley. 

Alameda County District Attorney Price was sworn in on Jan. 3 after Nancy O’Malley retired after serving since 2009.

The statistics, said Price, show Alameda County succeeds in bringing justice for the victims of sex trafficking and that the courts have experience hearing these cases. 

The Alameda County’s DA’s office said it hopes to “encourage victims to reach out to get help” so it may step up its fight against human trafficking and let victims know “they are not alone and that there is support available.”

For the duration of January, human trafficking awareness month, Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland will be lit blue at night as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done. 

2023 Human Trafficking Statistics – Alameda County 

About The Author

Fatimah Patel is a Court Watch intern with The Davis Vanguard, and is currently a freshman student at UCLA pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is passionate about social justice, the law, and is always trying to learn new things! Naturally, she aims to go to law school and pursue a career as an attorney. In her free time, she loves to read, bake, and spend time with friends and family.

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