SF steps up efforts to battle human trafficking 

In recent years, city officials have forced the closure of 36 massage parlors in San Francisco that are actually prostitution dens known to employ underage girls and boys, according to Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The mayor pointed out the figure Monday morning during a press conference announcing stepped up measures The City is taking to enforce against the nation’s human trafficking problem, a criminal activity known to contribute a workforce to the illegal sex shops.

The state estimates as many as 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year for involuntary servitude or modern-day slavery, the Mayor’s Office said.

“Home to a large international port, San Francisco is a major transit point for traffickers,” the Mayor’s Office said.

To help combat the problem locally, The City has assembled the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking, which teams up community providers and city government agencies, including the Police Department, in an effort to make residents more aware of the problem.

With new poster advertisements and information booklets on the subject, city officials hope that more residents will report signs of human trafficking or forced prostitution. The booklets also provide information for victims on where they can find help.

The mayor – who was joined by local political high-rollers including state Sen. Leland Yee, District Attorney Kamala Harris and Supervisors Carmen Chu – also called for the passage of AB 559, a bill ensuring “prosecutors have the ability to prosecute child trafficking cases without having the onerous burden of proving coercion.”

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