SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - On Thursday night, Hope for San Diego hosted a discussion in North County to raise awareness and inform the community about the complexities of human trafficking and how to help others find their roles in untangling the hidden web that ensnares so many in San Diego.

Human trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises with estimates of profit worldwide of $32 billion, and 9.5 billion annually in the U.S.

California is one of the nation's top four destination states for trafficking of human beings.

San Diego was identified by the FBI as of the top 13 high intensity child prostitution areas - 8,000 human and sex trafficking victims reported.

According to the San Diego County District Attorney office, the internet is the biggest platform that traffickers, johns, and pimps use for purchasing and selling their victims in the county.

"It's an equal opportunity destroyer. You can order a child on the internet and have them delivered to your house faster than a pizza is delivered to your house," said survivor Crystal Isle.

Deputy District Attorney, Mary-Ellen Barrett said prosecutions have tripled since 2009, and last month more than 400 people across the state were arrested in a human trafficking sting - 38 in San Diego.


As a victim Crystal thought she had lost everything, but now as a survivor she is about to graduate with a social work degree from Point Loma Nazarene. "I am thriver, I am not just a survivor," she said.

Hope for San Diego helps bring communities together to serve the poor and marginalized by engaging volunteers and providing financial resources to order to ensure lasting change.

"There is absolutely something you can do to help," said Isle.

Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and California law. Please get help for yourself or a suspected victim from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center toll free, 24/7 Hotline: 1-888-3737-888 or TEXT BeFree (233733).