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FBI: Bay Area one of nation's top places for child sex trafficking

Friday, January 10, 2014

The FBI says the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the nation's top 13 places for child sex trafficking. On Friday, the U.S. attorney and San Francisco city leaders launched a major awareness campaign on modern day slavery.

On Wednesday, Hayward police arrested two men at the Phoenix Lodge and charged them with running a sex trafficking ring. They got a call from Richmond police who said a 14-year-old girl told them she was kidnapped and forced into prostitution at this Hayward motel.

"While we were at the hotel, we discovered two more ladies at the hotel," Sgt. Mark Ormsby said. "We were able to interview them so we had a total of three individuals that were forced into this prostitution -- one minor and two adults.

The discovery of the sex trafficking ring put a punctuation mark on this week's kickoff of Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

On Thursday, the Alameda County District Attorney unveiled billboards and posters bearing the faces of former child sex trafficking victims and how they escaped a life of sexual exploitation.

On Friday, San Francisco launched its campaign by unveiling the winners of the anti-human trafficking teen poster contest, using the theme "No One Owns Me." Among the speakers, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag

"The outrage of human trafficking which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery," Haag said.

The anti-sex trafficking campaigns come on the heels of last summer's highly successful FBI sweep called "Operation Cross Country."

More than 100 children were rescued during the three-day law enforcement campaign.

Twelve children were rescued here in the Bay Area. That's more juveniles than any other city in the country.

Our crew from ABC7 News was embedded with the task force here in Hayward, the same city where police made the two arrests this week.

At a hotel, the FBI rescued a 17-year-old. They caught her on a hidden camera soliciting a police decoy for sex. Another girl was only thirteen. And one 15-year-old was so scared she began crying.

All were taken into protective custody because they're considered victims of human trafficking. The goal is to break the vicious cycle so that no one owns them anymore.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
FBI, crime, sex offender, sex crimes, local news, vic lee
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