Michelle Robertson, SFGate, November 13, 2017
In an interview with a vice detective on the Fresno Police Department’s nine-person sex trafficking task force, the Bee revealed the startling extent of traffickers’ reach.
One vice detective said he’s seen sex-trafficking victims “from every high school in Fresno County — and most junior high schools.”
“I’d bet every 16-year-old girl in Fresno has received a message that they didn’t know was from a recruiter,” the detective told the paper, explaining that recruiting is easier than ever with the advent of the internet.
Once entangled in the web of sex trafficking, the victims — and those running the operation — can be hard to locate. According to the Fresno Bee, traffickers concentrate their rings in cities along Highway 99 “because of the high concentration of hotels nearby.”
According to the Central Valley Justice Coalition, Fresno is attractive to traffickers for a handful of other reasons, including its proximity to other human trafficking hubs, like Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and its high population of groups particularly vulnerable to exploitation, including migrant workers and foster care youth.
Human trafficking has become a massive operation in California — and a profitable one at that. The Fresno Bee report claims that the sex trade is “now more lucrative than selling drugs for Fresno’s violent criminal street gangs.”