Human Trafficking in the Region
Human Trafficking can happen to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, age, sexual orientation or immigration status. Some individuals may be more vulnerable than others due to risk factors such as recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the child welfare system and being a runaway or homeless youth.
Contrary to movie portrayals and social media, most human trafficking occurs over time in relationships where the individual loves and trusts the trafficker and is deceived or forced into believing that they have chosen to participate in commercial sex or forced labor. Those who have experienced human trafficking often do not see themselves as victims and may often stay in the situation because they feel fear, guilt, shame and misguided loyalty to the trafficker.
Human trafficking does happen in Ventura County in industries such as agriculture, hospitality, domestic services and others. More than 1,300 cases of human trafficking were identified in California in 2021 (National Human Trafficking Hotline). Ventura County’s location along the 101 freeway makes it a corridor that provides human traffickers with fast transport and easy access across multiple counties.