San Diego Launches Anti-Trafficking Billboard Campaign
A public awareness campaign addressing the scourge of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children has been unveiled in San Diego. Nine billboards across San Diego County will feature ads calling attention to the sex trafficking of minors and its underlying causes. The campaign is a collaborative effort between the San Diego County District Attorney’s Offices, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, and Clear Channel Outdoor, a global outdoor advertising company that donated the billboards.
The billboards bring attention to an often hidden human rights crisis, which plagues both domestic and global communities, with messages like “Being a prostituted teen isn’t a choice. It’s Slavery.” The ads will remain up for 30 days and new billboards will be added as space becomes available through the end of the year.
According to San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, “human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the state” generating more than $9 billion in profits for traffickers. The campaign is an important step in informing the public both of the increasing crime and how to be a part of the solution. It is estimated that 3.5 million people will see the billboards in the first month alone.
In addition, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, created a new website, ProtectSanDiegoKids.org. The website provides information on preventing, identifying, and reporting human trafficking.
Often human trafficking is not perceived as a U.S. problem. The San Diego billboard campaign is designed to raise public awareness of just how prevalent human trafficking is in the United States. In addition to raising awareness about sex trafficking, attention must also be drawn to labor trafficking. 68 percent of the 21 million trafficking victims worldwide are exploited for labor.
Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise, which allows exploiters to operate with relative impunity; many of these criminals manage to avoid prosecution and punishment. We need to work to change this calculus, reduce the incidence of trafficking, and disrupt the business of traffickers by promoting policies to increase the risks, prosecutions, and punishments for those who exploit other human beings.