Trafficking is a lucrative and growing business. San Diego has one of the highest rates of sex trafficking in the nation. Rather than shy away from an uncomfortable subject this month’s meeting looks to discuss the issue openly and especially as it applies to our community.
Clubmember and former Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Boot has organized a panel of speakers to discuss this important local and international topic.
Alessandra (“Ali”) Serano an Assistant United States Attorney in the General Crimes Section, Criminal Division in the Southern District of California and has been so employed since June 2003. She is the Office’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator responsible for the coordination of investigations and prosecutions of all federal child exploitation offenses charged in this District, including child pornography, child prostitution, and other sexual exploitation offenses. Previously, Ms. Serano was assigned to the Counter-terrorism Section in the General Crimes Section which focused on immigration, false statements, and false document offenses as well as material support cases and investigations. She has tried over 35 federal felony jury trials while employed at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and argued over a dozen appeals before the Ninth Circuit.
Prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Ms. Serano was an associate at Howrey, Simon, Arnold and White in Los Angeles from October 1999 to June 2003. She was assigned to the Global Litigation Section where her practice focused on labor and employment matters, white collar criminal defense, insurance recovery matters and general civil litigation work. Ms. Serano graduated magna cum laude from the Univ of Miami School of Law in 1999. Prior to going to law school, she was a Deputy Probation Officer in Riverside County, CA in 1994-95. She received her BA in Political Science/Law & Society from the Univ. of California, Riverside in 1993.
In October 2012, Ms. Serano received the United States Attorney General’s Award for outstanding community partnership to promote public safety. In June 2013, she received the “Top Prosecutor” award from Women in Federal Law Enforcement. In September, 2013, Ms. Serano received the Federal Bar Association’s Hon. Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award. In October 2014, her team received the California Narcotic Officers’ Association Narcotic Team of the Year for the work they did for the Black Mob RICO case. In January 2015, Ms. Serano received an “Angels in Trafficking” Award from the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition for her work in helping trafficking survivors. In April 2015, she and her team received a Meritorious Service Award from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for their work on Operation Stolen Souls, an investigation into an organization in East County who were trafficking minors primarily from East County.
Sergeant Chris Cameron
Sergeant Cameron is assigned to the San Diego County Human Trafficking Task Force, supervising a team of investigators working human Trafficking cases. Sergeant Cameron and his team are part of the F.B.I.’s Innocence Lost Task Force; cross-sworn as Special Deputy U.S. Marshals which enables them to work cases from all angles at all levels (Local, State, & Federal).
Sergeant Cameron has over 25 years with San Diego Police Department, working a variety of field and investigative assignments. His career path has afforded him the opportunity to be a patrol officer, a field training officer, teaching new officers how to apply lessons learned in the academy to field work on the street. He has worked several investigative assignments, from working youth crimes, to property crimes, internet crimes, to serious person crimes, which includes five years of undercover work in the world of vice and human trafficking.
Along the way Sergeant Cameron has held administrative jobs in Internal Affairs addressing officer liability issues, and officer privacy rights, in the backgrounds and recruiting unit hiring new officers, and in Southeast San Diego as a community relations officer.
Sergeant Cameron teaches courses as an instructor at the academy and within the department. He currently teaches in the Emergency Vehicle Operations Core (EVOC) instructing new and advanced officers on the intricacies of driving law enforcement vehicles. He also teaches Human Trafficking in advanced officer training. In the past he has taught courses on Racial Profiling, and orientation training on department’s computer systems.
Susan Munsey is the Executive Director and founder of GenerateHope, a comprehensive and uniquely designed long-term recovery program for young women who have been trafficked, prostituted or otherwise sexually exploited. Susan sits on the San Diego Regional HT CSEC Advisory Council and co-chairs the San Diego HT CSEC Victim Services Committee.
Susan has a Masters degree in social work from Smith College in Massachusetts & is licensed in California as a clinical social worker. She has 25 yrs of clinical experience in the community, in hospital settings & in private practice.
Sarah Boot practices consumer advocacy litigation at the law firm of Blood Hurst & O’Reardon LLP, where she specializes in the prosecution of class action lawsuits to enforce the rights of consumers, homeowners, small businesses, and investors in state and federal courts throughout the country.
Previously, Boot served as an Assistant United States Attorney on a Trial Team in the Southern District of California. There, she prosecuted a broad array of federal crimes, including bank robbery, sex trafficking of minors, and narcotics trafficking. Boot began her legal career as an associate at Cooley LLP, where she focused on complex civil and intellectual property litigation and represented Internet and technology companies, including eBay, Google, and the Salk Institute
Boot is a leader in both the legal community and the broader San Diego community. She recently ran for office in a hotly contested race for San Diego City Council, District 2. Boot is a past-president of Lawyers Club, the 1,300-member San Diego bar association dedicated to advancing the status of women in law and in society, and she remains on the organization’s advisory board as well as its Human Trafficking Taskforce. She is also a founding member of Run Women Run, a non-partisan organization dedicated to recruiting, training, and supporting women to run for office. Boot currently serves on the Board of Directors of San Diego Coastkeeper, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring fishable, swimmable, and drinkable waters in San Diego County.
Boot has been named one of San Diego Metro Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” and has been awarded as a “Top Young Attorney” by the San Diego Daily Transcript. Boot received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and she spent a semester studying international law in China at Hong Kong University. Prior to that, she graduated from the University of Michigan with an honors degree in political science and a minor in Spanish.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where perpetrators profit from the sexual exploitation and/or forced labor of men, women and children. It is a violation of basic human rights, and it is also a crime as defined by U.S. federal law and California state law.
Sex trafficking is the exploitation of a person by means including coercion or deceit to engage in commercial sexual activity, prostitution, exotic dancing, or pornography. (When the victim is a minor under the age of 18 years old, sex trafficking does not require force or coercion. Minors cannot legally consent to sexual activity)
Labor trafficking is the exploitation of a person by means including coercion or deceit for labor services. Labor trafficking victims are often forced into domestic servitude, construction, restaurant, agricultural, massage parlors, or sweatshop factory work with little or no pay.
Human Trafficking Facts and Figures
- Human trafficking is not a choice. A person cannot consent to become enslaved.
- Human trafficking is different than smuggling. Smuggling is based on transportation; trafficking is based on exploitation (although the two can occur together).
- Human trafficking does not require that a victim be moved over state or international borders. Human Trafficking is also a domestic issue inside CA state and San Diego County.
- 27 million people are trafficked each year worldwide, with approximately 18,000 victims in the U.S. (U.S. Department of State)
- 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, a populous border state with a significant immigrant population 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.
- Human Trafficking that is based in sexual exploitation and its related forms of pimping and pandering form the majority of criminal prosecutions.
Who are the Victims of Human Trafficking?
- Victims of human trafficking include children, women and men.
- Victims of human trafficking can be domestic or foreign to include U.S. citizens and legal residents, or foreign nationals including those legally documented or undocumented.
- Victims regularly include runaway youths solicited and recruited for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation.
- Victims often have backgrounds of child abuse/domestic violence, but do span every socioeconomic and family background.
Who are the Perpetrators of Human Trafficking?
- Attempt to induce or persuade a child or minor under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution, pornography or other forms of sexual exploitation.
- Deprive or violate the personal liberty of anyone 18 or above through means including coercion, duress or deceit to engage the victim in prostitution, pornography or other forms of sexual exploitation.
- Deprive or violate the liberty of anyone under or over the age of 18 through means including coercion, duress or deceit to obtain forced labor or services.
- Perpetrators include family members, boyfriends, peer recruiters and organized criminals and gangs.
What are the warning signs of human trafficking based on sexual exploitation of a Minor?
Parents, teachers, employers, counselors, nurses, doctors, other professionals and friends of trafficking victims are often unaware of the abuse that is happening right in front of their eyes.
- Running away from home
- Truancy, chronic absenteeism
- Sudden drop in grades
- Change of friends or alienation from regular friends
- Rumors among students regarding sex activities
- Sudden change in behavior, attitude or attire
- Anger, aggression, being suicidal or fearful
- Claims of a new and mysterious/secretive “boyfriend”
- Use of drugs (i.e. marijuana and ecstasy)
- Weight loss
- Bruises or other physical trauma
- New cell phone or multiple cell phones
- Use of terminology related to prostitution
- Tattoos that are related to pimping/prostitution activity
- Secrecy with social media and phone
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline is 1-888-373-7888.
Please click here to RSVP for the meeting.
Members are encouraged to get together from 3:30PM before the meeting starts, please bring whatever light drinks/snacks that you’d like to share.