Human trafficking is the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise and is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry. After drug trafficking, human trafficking is the world's second most profitable criminal enterprise, a status it shares with illegal arms trafficking. Like drug and arms trafficking, the United States is one of the top destination countries for trafficking in persons. California – a populous border state with a significant immigrant population and the world's ninth largest economy – is one of the nation's top four destination states for trafficking human beings.
Transnational and domestic gangs have recently expanded from trafficking guns and drugs to trafficking human beings. Transnational gangs use cross-border tunnels to move not only guns and drugs, but also human beings, from Mexico into California. Domestic street gangs set aside traditional rivalries to set up commercial sex rings and maximize profits from the sale of young women. The perpetrators of human trafficking have become more sophisticated and organized, requiring an equally sophisticated response from law en¬forcement and its partners to disrupt and dismantle their networks.
The Internet and new technologies have also transformed the landscape of human trafficking. Traffickers use social media and other online tools to recruit victims and, in the case of sex trafficking, find and communicate with customers. While technology is being used to perpetrate human trafficking, that same technology can provide a digital trail – a valuable investigative tool for law enforcement to monitor, collect, and analyze online data and activities. Further, there are currently efforts underway to study and develop innovative technologies to prevent and disrupt human trafficking online. The Internet, social media, and mobile devices also provide new avenues for outreach to victims and raising public awareness about this atrocious crime.
This website is a hub of information and resources designed to highlight the important work being done across the state to raise awareness, serve victims, bring perpetrators to justice, and create a future without human trafficking.
Kamala D. Harris
California Attorney General