(Hesperia) — Sex-trafficking of teenagers has gained a foothold in San Bernardino County. So First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood has teamed up with San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos to highlight the problem with an April 9 showing in Hesperia of the documentary film, “Teenage $ex 4 $ale.”
“Public awareness is vital to combating the problem of sex slavery,” Lovingood said. “It is appalling that children as young as 12 and 13 are being sexually exploited. And make no mistake, this is happening here in our county, so we need the public’s help.”
Citing law enforcement reports, Lovingood said that trans-national gangs are expanding into human trafficking, which can be even more profitable than smuggling guns or drugs.
“It’s time to step up, all of us as a community, not only the District Attorney’s Office, everybody involved in the community,” Ramos said.
Lovingood praised a series of new efforts by the D.A.’s office to crack down on sex trafficking.
• Creation of a Human Trafficking Vertical Prosecution Unit, comprised of one deputy district attorney, one investigator and one victim advocate specialist.
• Implementation of “Stop-the-John”Project to release and post online the names and photographs of those defendants convicted of solicitation.
• Create a Girls Court to provide services and resources to minor victims forced or caught in the life of prostitution.
• Provide training and outreach to teachers in regard to mandatory reporting of suspected human trafficking.
• Increase focus and training on the use of human trafficking to fund gang activity.
• Develop methods and training with local law enforcement partners to increase effective prosecution of human trafficking cases.
• Publicize the use of the county 211 information line for county citizens to report suspected human trafficking violations.
• Pursue legislative changes at the State level to combat human trafficking.
• Encourage local citizens and advertisers to become engaged in the fight to stop Village Voice Media which operates Backpage.com.
The documentary “Teenage $ex 4 $ale” will be shown starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at Cinema 12 Plaza, 9711 Ninth Ave in Hesperia. The film is 45 minutes and will be followed by a discussion. Supervisor Lovingood and District Attorney Ramos are scheduled to speak. Admission is free and open to the public. Members of local law enforcement, school administrators, nonprofits and the news media are especially encouraged to attend. Due to limited seating, please RSVP by April 2 by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (760) 995-8100.
A trailer of the film, “Teenage $ex 4 $ale” is available on YouTube athttp://www.youtube.com/sbcountyda