Rally spotlights human trafficking problems in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rally spotlights human trafficking problems in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Chanting and holding signs, about one hundred people marched through Balboa Park Saturday to raise awareness on an issue that impacts San Diego more than many people realize.

“The FBI has identified San Diego as one of the top 13 high intensity areas for human trafficking in the country” says Erin Leventhal, president of Junior League San Diego.

Among the crowds were not only Junior League members, but also local law enforcement and non-profit leaders. There were also victims, like Aliza Amar.

“I chose not to scream.”

Amar shared her story with the crowd, describing in detail what happened when she applied for a modeling job at the age of 21 while living in Israel.

“A man walks in. And without saying a word, he just comes at me…and rapes me”

Amar says that the experience was a nightmare, saying the rape was videotaped and distributed as pornography.

“Being in that position, I was trafficked for sex.”

She brought with her an art piece, each shoe representing a child or woman being trafficked.

Locally, girls between the ages of 12 and 14 are being recruited on the streets and online to work as prostitutes.

“They don't pay them anything and can sell them time and time again” says Summer Stephan.

Summer is a chief deputy district attorney and says her office is making great strides to crack down on the problem, noting prosecutions have tripled in the past five years.

“We have a specialized sex crimes division with prosecutors, investigators, and victim advocates.”

A lot of work is still needed, which is why activists are alerting the public and letting victims know there is a way out.

CBS News 8's Shannon Handy has more information from Balboa Park in this video story.


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