Is Stockton a Hotspot for Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is happening around the world, but would you recognise it in your community? If you see or hear anything suspicious, it is essential that you report it the relevant authorities.

If you think someone is at immediate risk, it is essential you report it to the local police or contact the  National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting HELP to 233733

The Situation

STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention (CfILP) is conducting research into global human trafficking trends. This research has identified Stockton and the wider San Joaquin Valley area as potential human trafficking hotspots.

You may be surprised to learn that most of the affected individuals are US citizens. In particular, they are being subjected to sexual and labor exploitation, with the abusers targeting both adults and children.

Sex trafficking is facilitated by advertisements posted online at sites such as Backpage; victims are often driven around different motels in the area and forced to sell sex. There has been a predominance of reported cases associated with child sexual exploitation.

There is also evidence of farm workers being trafficked into labor exploitation in San Joaquin’s large agricultural industry.

Many factors make people vulnerable to trafficking, including, but not limited to:

  • Socio-economic or household circumstances
  • Psychological condition
  • Age

Traffickers take advantage of these vulnerabilities by deception, often using:

  • False job advertisements
  • Fake social media profiles

Trafficked persons are controlled through physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; confiscation of identity documents; social isolation and restricted movement; debt bondage and financial dependence; and threats to themselves and their family members.

Labour exploitation illustration showing mining equipment, coffee sacks and tinned fish

Every country, regardless of its level of economic development, is affected by human trafficking and modern slavery. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 21 million victims of modern slavery worldwide with 68% exploited for labor and 22% sexually exploited.

Our Objective

The objective of STOP THE TRAFFIK is to help communities become more resilient to trafficking through increased awareness and engagement. We aim to shine a light so that slavery is exposed and traffickers can no longer operate. We can only achieve our goals with the cooperation and assistance of local people and organizations. Learn how to spot the signs here.  Every day, more people are joining the fight to eradicate this horrific crime by sharing any information or suspicions they may have with us. You can do the same by downloading the STOP APP and sharing anything you have seen or heard that may be linked to human trafficking.

You can also share information with us via the STOP APP on Google Play or the App Store, and share your story. All information is important and may be part of a bigger picture.

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Here are our campaign posts from Stockton, CA, and the wider San Joaquin Valley area.

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Latest posts


"1 in 5 victims report having come into contact with healthcare services during the time they were being trafficked"- 2016 Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland.

We're speaking at #NHSsafeguarding conference about the role of the #NHS in preventing #ModernSlavery

We received 418 reports of potential exploitation of workers in the food industry in 2018. That includes those working in pubs, hotels, restaurants and takeaways. Popping out for a bite to eat this week? Keep your eyes peeled for signs of exploitation and call us on 0800 432 0804

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