SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Tuesday to establish a committee of local law enforcement agencies to battle human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of youth.
The San Diego Regional Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council will operate similarly to other regional groups that combat auto theft, gangs and methamphetamine.
Area law enforcement officials have said recently that while crime is going down in the region, sexual exploitation of teenagers is increasing, and frequently involves gang members impressing girls into prostitution in areas like Spring Valley.
"I can tell you, this is a very real problem, not just in the East County, but around the state," said Hank Turner of the Deputy Sheriffs Association.
The issue is ignored at the state level, and San Diego is one of the few counties to address the problem, Turner said.
Supervisor Greg Cox called it "one of the most disgusting, depraving and destructive criminal operations in our county, and really, around the country."
The council will include law enforcement agencies, victim services organizations, the education community, and volunteer and community groups.
Recommendations will go to Sheriff Bill Gore and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis for study and implementation, Supervisor Dianne Jacob said.
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