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Police focus on juvenile sex trafficking in Oakland

According to recent statistics, 46 percent of the child trafficking cases in California are prosecuted in Alameda County. The conviction rate for those cases is 80 percent.

But the current system doesn't automatically ensure the protection of children who have been exploited through sex trafficking. Kids will have to go through the juvenile justice system after being arrested in connection with the sex trade in Oakland, and adults and children alike will need a legal defense strategy to limit the negative consequences of an arrest.

In fact, the Bay Area is regarded by the FBI as a "high-intensity child prostitution area," and police say that about 100 kids are exploited each night for sex. Members of law enforcement from multiple agencies recognize the stretch of International Boulevard, from 1st to 109th avenues, as an especially long and dangerous "track" for prostitution, and police comb that area with an eye out for suspects.

The number of children in the Oakland sex trade has steadily increased over the last decade, and Alameda County was one of the first in the country to create a unit devoted specifically to human trafficking.

The average age of children who have been commercially exploited for sex has dropped from a decade ago. The average age then was 15; now it's 12.

Complicating matters is that many of these kids end up bonding with the people who exploit them. A study in Alameda County showed that less than half of the children who were commercially exploited for sex thought their exploiters weren't protecting the kids' best interests.

If readers in the Oakland area would like to learn more about juvenile sex crimes, our Dublin criminal defense site is a good resource.

Source: Oakland Local, "Oakland Won't Quit on Trafficked Kids," Lynsey Clark, June 12, 2013

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