SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A new report reveals astounding results of who is being impacted when it comes to sex trafficking victims.
Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra, along with researchers and advocates, released the results Wednesday, which paint a grim picture of sex trafficking in Sacramento County.
Researchers are taking an approach to track how many sex trafficking victims are in Sacramento County.
“To drive resources to an issue the number one question we were asked is ‘How many people were affected,” said Terri Galvan with Community Against Sexual Harm.
Between 2015 and 2020, About 13,000 people in Sacramento County were given or sold to a third party for sex against their will at some point, according to the report released by Communities Against Sexual Harm, Sacramento State and Group RTI International.
“This is a commercial activity that is happening. This is people buying people,” Guerra said.
The study estimates that for every sex trafficking victim that law enforcement and service providers are aware of, there are actually 11.2 times as many out there.
Galvan said the new study exposes what people working to end sexual exploitation have seen for a while.
“These numbers don’t really surprise me,” said Terri Galvan, a representative of Communities Against Sexual Harm.
Though victims come from diverse backgrounds, the study found that 94% of the 158 people that were interviewed identified as female. Most of the victims said they were first trafficked when they were 20 years old.
Also, Black people were overrepresented as trafficking victims relative to the Sacramento population while white people were underrepresented.
Advocates said they are urging sex and human trafficking to be addressed as a public health crisis.
“I imagine what happens for our community’s wellbeing if we prioritized identifying and serving well survivors of sex trafficking,” Galvan said.