People are encouraged to take part in a free four-day conference on human trafficking and prevention. The conference is designed to educate people on how traffickers frequently target young, vulnerable kids.
According to organizers, Riverside County has the third largest population statewide of human trafficking victims and sexually exploited youth. With more kids online during the COVID-19 pandemic, they say youth are at greater risk to be lured. Foster, runaway and/or homeless youth continue to be especially vulnerable to predators.
During January, National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the Department of Public Social Services is hosting a virtual conference to take a deeper look at what’s happening in our backyard and explore ways to empower and protect local communities.
Speakers include survivor and author of Stolen, Dr. Katariina Rosenblatt; Opal Singleton, President and CEO of Million Kids and training expert with Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force; Clayton Cranford, Cyber Safety Cop; and Norma Vazquez, Anti-Human Trafficking director of Operation SafeHouse.
Dr. Rosenblatt spoke with News Channel 3 ahead of this week’s conference. She was trafficked at age 13 while at a hotel with her mother. She now travels the country sharing her story to educate others how to protect themselves.
“At 13 I fought back. And that was the beginning of my fight against human trafficking and it’s been my fight ever since,” said Dr. Rosenblatt.
She will be speaking at the conference on January 13th. She encourages parents to have these conversations with their kids often.
“If they are at any age where they are exposed to strangers, or any online social media app, warn them about social media safety. Warn them about stranger danger...about their ‘no no zones’ ...have those difficult conversations,” she said.
The virtual conference goes from Monday, Jan. 11, through Thursday, Jan. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
To register for the free event, CLICK HERE.