The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office recently announced the formation of a new, multi-agency Human Trafficking Task Force.
According to the task force’s mission statement, it will prevent and combat trafficking through education, protect and assist victims with full respect for their human rights, and promote cooperation among law enforcement and community organizations by allocating resources.
Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham explained that the task force will include participation from every police agency within the county, as well as other organizations that include the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter, Cal Poly Safer, the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, and many more.
“We’re not the first,” Cunningham said. “There are a number of task forces that have been created in the state, and they’re finding that it’s the best way to coordinate efforts.”
A press release announcing the task force formation noted that SLO County is “a natural corridor for human trafficking activities between Los Angeles and San Francisco.”
There have been several cases of suspected human trafficking in SLO County in recent years. Most recently, the District Attorney’s Office charged Oscar Higueros Jr. with 33 felonies, and days later charged Richard Scott Brooks with 15 felonies, including human trafficking.
On the weekend beginning Jan. 16, the Mountainbrook Community Church in San Luis Obispo is scheduled to play host to the 2015 Justice Summit, which will include talks and other activities, all on the subject of human trafficking. The summit begins at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 16. Registration is $20 for each day of the first two days on Jan. 16 and 17. There will also be a free event beginning at 1 p.m. on Jan. 18. A complete schedule and additional information are available at mbabolitionists.org.