West Hollywood Hosts Human Trafficking Forum Next Week

The City of West Hollywood will host a Human Trafficking Education Forum on Tuesday.

The forum will take place at 10 a.m. at the City Council Chambers located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. This event is free and open to the public. Those attending are asked to RSVP by phone at (323) 848-6371 or by email to bsmith@weho.org. Validated parking will be available at the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure, limited to availability.

There are an estimated 24.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide, and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. While human trafficking can happen to anyone, people who are already in vulnerable situations are preyed upon and may be more likely to be targeted by traffickers.

WEHOville has reported in recent months that there are 10 illicit massage parlors in West Hollywood staffed by Asian women who, according to reviews on the RubMaps.ch website, provide sex to the men who visit them.  The New York Times on March 2 published a story describing a proliferation of such massage parlors in the United States, in some of which the Asian women are held captive and forced to perform sex work.

The city’s Code Compliance and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station in recent months have conducted inspections of the massage parlors cited by WEHOville to ensure that they comply with state and city ordinances regarding health and safety. Also, the City Council has voted to update the sex trafficking alert posters that must be posted in such establishments so that they can be read by women speaking Korean, Vietnamese and Thai languages, the nationalities of many of the women identified in the RubMaps reviews.

In 2016, the human trafficking cases reported in California represented 15% of all such reported cases in the nation. Many factors make Los Angeles County a hub for human trafficking including the region’s proximity to ports and international airports and its diverse population.

Participating in the Human Trafficking Education Forum will Cast LA, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, which is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that is working to put an end to modern slavery and human trafficking through comprehensive, life-transforming services to survivors and a platform to advocate for groundbreaking policies and legislation. Over the past two decades, CAST has supported thousands of survivors through every phase of their journey to freedom from counseling, to legal resources, to housing, educational and leadership training, and mentorship; and

Another prominent participant is Dawn Schiller, who has been a survivor-leader in the anti-trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault movements. As a speaker, trainer, and author, Schiller combines her personal experiences and academic studies in difference, power, and discrimination to raise awareness about sex trafficking, domestic violence, and teen victimization.

For more information about the Human Trafficking Education Forum, contact Bonnie Smith, City of West Hollywood Public Safety Supervisor, at (323) 848-6371 or bsmith@weho.org. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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Michael Grace
Michael Grace

Are John Duran, Ed Buck’s longtime friend and attorney, along with Mayor John D’Amico, recipient of Buck’s campaign funds, going to speak on the human trafficking operated out of Buck’s meth lab on Laurel Avenue?

jimmy palmieri
jimmy palmieri

What a horribly inconvenient time for such an important forum. THINK PEOPLE…..THINK!