San Francisco Trafficking Victims Mostly Under 25, Women and People of Color: Report

The majority of cases in San Francisco involve victims under the age of 25, women and people of color, according to a new report from the city’s anti-trafficking task force.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking released a report detailing the types of human trafficking cases the government and community organizations were handling in 2021.

Eight public health agencies, women’s and family services, law enforcement and legal services reported 165 cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation and labor caused by force, fraud or coercion.

This number is lower than data from previous years – 673 cases from 22 agencies in 2017 – but this is also due to the fact that fewer agencies participated in the report.

A spokesperson for the task force said the COVID-19 pandemic, staff turnover and lower ability to deliver services prevent agencies from participating.

However, when comparing the number of cases over the years across the same eight agencies, there were on average 23% more cases.

Of the reported cases, 91% were sex trafficking cases, 94% of the survivors were women and 88% were under the age of 25, 72% were people of color, most of whom were African American.

The San Francisco Department of the Status of Women and the task force will focus on three recommendations made in line with the report’s findings: the city needs to revitalize anti-trafficking organizations, allocate more funds to key organizations, and data collection should focus on identifying that services are needed.

“While human trafficking affects women, girls, and non-binary people significantly and disproportionately, it is a problem for all San Francisco residents,” said Kimberly Ellis, director of the San Francisco Department of Women. “The findings of this report demonstrate the need to collect more reliable and complete data in order to better understand the depth of human trafficking in all its forms, prevent future trafficking in human beings, and support current victims.”

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