The County of Santa Clara

Board Referral

Direct Administration to create a Human Trafficking Commission. (Chavez)


Department:Supervisor Cindy Chavez (Supervisorial District Two)Sponsors:
Category:Board Referral


  1. Speaker Cards for Item No. 16



It is expected that any fiscal impact (for example, from additional staffing) will be presented by the Administration and considered by the Board in the 2014-15 budget process.



The Human Trafficking Commission will 1) investigate the nature and scope of human trafficking in the County, including both labor and sex trafficking; 2) identify model victim-centered policies, services, and preventative measures to address this issue; 3) make legislative and policy recommendations to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors (Board); 4) support the apprehension and prosecution of traffickers; and 5) collaborate with partners regionally, nationally, and internationally to share information and strategies for ending human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a growing problem in Santa Clara County. Human trafficking denies many County residents basic human dignities and strains the County's safety net by increasing the need for law enforcement to combat the issue.  Innovative solutions and improved collaboration between governmental entities and the community are sorely needed.

The San Jose Police Department has an aggressive human trafficking prevention unit which is funded by grants. This department has been responsible for arrests, investigations, and assistance in court room proceedings for the entire county. Unfortunately, these grants end this summer and will leave behind a large gap in police enforcement, law enforcement training, and assistance with prosecutions.


The District Attorney and Sheriff have recognized the need for enhanced focus upon Human Trafficking and would require resources to augment their existing efforts with more investigatory capacity.


Through the work of the San Jose Police Department and the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, the complexity of human trafficking within Santa Clara County has become clear. With the end of the grant money funding the work of the San Jose Police Department and the upcoming 2016 Super Bowl (Super Bowl events are known to cause a dramatic spike in human trafficking), now is the opportune time for the County to create a Human Trafficking Commission.



The U.S. State Department defines trafficking as the “act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.”  Trafficking includes slavery, forced labor, debt bondage, and commercial sexual exploitation.  Internationally, there are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human trafficking.  As many as 100,000 American children are trafficked each year. 


Most of the reporting calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline come from California, and the Bay Area is said to be a top destination point for trafficked victims. The Bay Area’s major harbors and airports, its robust industries, increasing economy and population, and its large immigrant population make it an attractive place for human trafficking.


The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Commission will:  (1) investigate the nature and scope of human trafficking in the County, including both labor and sex trafficking; (2) identify victim-centered policies, services, and preventative measures to address this issue; (3) make legislative and policy recommendations to the Board; (4) support the apprehension and prosecution of traffickers; and (5) collaborate with partners regionally, nationally, and internationally to share information and strategies for ending human trafficking. 


The Commission will meet at least six times a year for two years to address particular issues.  The Commission will periodically report its progress to the Board through the Public Safety and Justice Committee.  At the conclusion of those two years, the Board will determine whether to extend or revise the operations of the Commission based on the needs of the County.


The Commission is expected to call upon the existing policy and technical experts in the community to assist in furthering its objectives.  Resources that the Commission might be expected to call upon for assistance include the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, Community Solutions, Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, AACI, YWCA, Bill Wilson Center, Catholic Charities and Maitri, along with survivors of sexual trafficking and labor trafficking.


In addition, the Commission may elect to call upon interested members of the community, philanthropic entities and other funding sources to seek private funding of program needs that are identified during its deliberations.



Initial Focus of the Commission

Because of the broad scope of the problem, the Commission will focus on the following initial projects with the goal of completing them within six months.  These projects target (1) known issues that need to be addressed and (2) the gathering of additional data that will focus future efforts.  The Commission will determine its subsequent projects based on the data gathered.

1.     Sex Trafficking

·        Recognizing that an existing workgroup is drafting a protocol to guide local law enforcement in utilizing best practices when they encounter Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) youth, the Commission may work to streamline the provision of services to CSEC youth through non-law-enforcement agencies, other County departments and community organizations. 

·        The Commission will work with the police departments and the Sheriff to develop a coordinated response to sex and labor trafficking.  For instance, an influx is expected during the 2016 Super Bowl.  Alternatively, the Commission will recommend that the Board of Supervisors provide funding to a non-profit organization to coordinate this response.

2.     Labor Trafficking

·        The Commission will partner with the San Jose Police Department, with local agencies, and federal agencies that inspect various businesses, and with victim service provider organizations to develop trainings for law enforcement and other public agencies designed to assist in identification of labor trafficking. 

·        The Commission will also create a community engagement plan directed towards prevention, to raise awareness, and to educate the public on labor trafficking.

3.     Prosecution

·        The Commission will collaborate with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office to marshal resources to facilitate the prosecution of human traffickers. 

·        The Commission will also identify innovative approaches to target individuals and entities that profit indirectly from human trafficking.

4.     Data Gathering

·        The Commission will request data from County departments, service providers, and local law enforcement to determine the nature and scope of labor and sex trafficking in Santa Clara County, current resources available to trafficking victims, and the efficiency of current policies and programs.  If data is limited or unavailable, the Commission will evaluate and improve the County’s mechanisms for gathering data on trafficking within the County.  This data will inform the Commission’s future projects. 



Primary staffing support for the work of the Commission will be the responsibility of the Office of Women’s Policy (OWP).  OWP will request funding for a temporary FTE to provide administrative and research support to the Commission.  The Office of Supervisor Cindy Chavez will provide additional support as necessary.  The Office of the County Counsel may facilitate discussion at Commission meetings and will oversee discrete projects. 



Recommended Human Trafficking Commission



o       Supervisor Cindy Chavez

o       District Attorney Jeff Rosen

o       Sheriff Laurie Smith


County Departments (Department heads or their designee should attend.)

o       Public Defender

o       County Counsel

o       Probation

o       Social Services Agency

o       Mental Health Department

o       Office of Women’s Policy


Non-County Law Enforcement Representatives

o       Santa Clara County Policy Chief’s Association Representative

o       San Jose Police Chief

o       Santa Clara Police Chief

o       FBI Representative

o       Federal Prosecutor



Court System Representatives

o       Judge Tondreau

o       Judge Pichon



Community Representatives

o       2 members nominated by the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking

o       1 labor representative

o       1 business representative


      Other Advisors

o       Congressmember Zoe Lofgren

o       Congressmember Anna Eshoo

o       Congressmember Mike Honda

o       Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews

o       San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed

o       VTA General Manager Nuria Fernandez




Meeting History

Apr 29, 2014 9:00 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Four individuals expressed appreciation to Supervisor Chavez for surfacing the issue and support for the recommendation.

One person discussed the services provided by the organization Love Never Fails in the Bay Area.

MOVER:Cindy Chavez, Supervisor
SECONDER:S. Joseph Simitian, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian


Apr 29, 2014 9:00 AMBoard of SupervisorsRegular Meeting


10:53 AMItem 15 was continued. Item 16 is direct administration to create a human trafficking commission. Supervisor chavez, we'll start with you.
Thank you. chair wasserman and my colleagues, what is before you is a referral that i'm putting forward on behalf of myself, [speaker not understood] and the district attorney jeff rosen to ask for the board of supervisors to support the establishment of a human rights -- human trafficking, antihuman trafficking commission. We have a number of speakers. What i'd like to do is move to the speakers and then make comments after they speak to the issue.
Certainly. speakers, if you can come forward, it will be a minute each. Madam clerk, sparky parlon. Ross signorino. Bruce [speaker not understood]. Rose [speaker not understood]. I got that right? And benito hopkins. Start us off, sparky. Oops, that's not on. There you go.
10:54 AM> got it. now i'm close enough. Sparky [speaker not understood], ceo he bill wilson center. I'm delighted to be here today to support this commission on studying and looking at the issue of human trafficking which includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking. As the scene yo of the run away and youth program, i've seen over the years hundreds of kids who have been basically trading a place to stay at night [speaker not understood] and also [speaker not understood] in labor traffickinginging. A lot of them, people coming over the border who were basically sent to act as maids without compensation . So, thank you, cindy chavez, for introducing this new commission to our area and I look forward to working with you on it. Thank you.
Thank you. Mr. Signorino.
10:55 AM> thank you, Mr. President and other board members. I'm here to speak on this particular subject of human trafficking. It coincides with a book that i'm reading right now and the name of the book is called "the action" by president jimmy carter. I've read other books on this subject, but this one is a brutal read, a hard read, but a must read. It's to cindy chavez's credit that she brings the subject up and make it very public. Some years back I understand there were 50,000 girls in the united states that were human trafficking and now I understand it's much higher, even over 100,000. So, this is a subject that cannot die and must not die. It's going on all over the world. It's brutal towards women. Women are out there targeted just for this particular thing. I want to thank you for giving me this moment to speak on it. And cindy, you look good. [laughter]
10:56 AM> take care.
Thank you. next on the floor we're going to wear pink, and cindy, you'll be in black. Okay.
> my name is ruth [speaker not understood]. I supervise workers rights at the alexander law center and [speaker not understood]. I'm also legal services chair of the south bay coalition to end human trafficking. I want to thank the supervisors and supervisor chavez for their focus on this problem and their commitment to combating human trafficking in our county. While most criminal investigations in california are sex trafficking cases, labor trafficking cases are reportedly 3. 5 times the [speaker not understood]. Since 2005 the san jose police department human trafficking task force and the [speaker not understood] coalition to end human trafficking is identified and rescued over 300 potential [speaker not understood] to human trafficking. It's believed that the majority of cases in santa clara county are related to [speaker not understood] neighbor trafficking. At the alexander community law center of the trafficking survivors we existed since [speaker not understood]. 70% of forced labor [speaker not understood] commercial sex. With the super bowl release, we double our a [speaker not understood] --
10:57 AMThank you very much. [speaker not understood], you're next and benita hopkins after that. And sally lieber after that.
> hi, i'm [speaker not understood] hopkins. [speaker not understood] had to leave. [speaker not understood] we are a member of the south bay coalition to end human trafficking. 11 04 human being came into being because a student of our was raped and trafficked [speaker not understood]. Many of our victims have been trafficked throughout this area and the department of justice states that abuse is a precursor to victims [speaker not understood] in this environment. And we have created an abuse prevention program that we are disseminating around the bay area. I'm getting ready to go to a school here in san jose today on this issue as well and other schools -- [speaker not understood] school district has asked us to come in for their entire third grade class. This summer a partner of [speaker not understood] aided on an issue [speaker not understood].
10:58 AMExcuse me, Mr. President.
Thank you very much.
Could I please collaborate with what you've been doing, please?
10:59 AM> what we have been doing? we have been going into school with our educational program on abuse prevention. And many students have [speaker not understood]. The department of justice said 65 to 58% of victims as well as perpetrators have been abused as children. So, our goal is a prevention [speaker not understood]. Prevention and rescue and restoration and resources are very important for our children.
Thank you. and thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, supervisor. thank you very much. I have one final speaker. Is she coming up, no?
> sally lieber. i'd like to thank the board for taking this item up and really thank supervisor chavez for her leadership in putting this together. [speaker not understood] here in santa clara county for a long time. [speaker not understood] to serving youth that are vulnerable and/or homeless. Our commitment to [speaker not understood] people are paid wages for the work that they do and our commitment to community policing. But what we have not done until today what to bring this together. This was a critical issue throughout our communities. In [speaker not understood] county we've had both cases of labor trafficking and sex trafficking. I was recently advocateing for a constituent who became homeless along with her mother and was in the greyhound station in downtown san jose and they were only there for about half an hour until they were approached by a man who told the daughter, why are you so unhappy looking? I can help you get men. So, this is a problem that is really, really -- it's happening in each of our communities every single day. So, I wanted to, again, thank you for your leadership in putting this together and I look forward to working with the commission. Thank you so much.
11:01 AMThank you all for being here and we'll [speaker not understood]. Supervisor chavez, we'll go back to you for a motion.
Great, thank you. i'd like to move that we establish a commission to end human trafficking in santa clara county and with that motion i'll make some comments. Thank you.
Motion made. we have a second.
Thank you. first of all, I wanted to thank all of those of you who came out to speak and for all of you who have been working on this issue for a very long time, can you stand up, those of you who are here who are a part of this south bay coalition? Just stand up if you've been serving people who have been attacked bill this issue. And I appreciate that very much. A representative from the san jose police department and recognize the sheriff. Give them a round of applause. (applause)
11:02 AMThese people have been working on this issue for a very long time. And along with our office of women's policy. The reason I asked them to do that is this is one of those problems that's been hidden in plain view. And a small group of leaders, as I am reminded by sparky, [speaker not understood] south bay coalition to end human trafficking, has been working on this. Really what this is an opportunity to do is to lift all those efforts up, amplify those efforts, and really try to bring more resources to bear on this very significant problem. Earlier today someone asked me a question about how big of an issue is human trafficking in our community. And the fact of the matter is we can't answer that question. We know it's here. We know it's significant, but we have no idea how many people it is impacting and quite frankly because we don't have enough eyes in the community that are trained to see this scourge in our community. And i'll just give you one example. Nationally, there is a group of flight attendants who are trained to spy human trafficking on plane flights. And they've been trained, they collaborate with the fbi and local police jurisdictions. And we have that same opportunity, pharmaceutical, with the valley transportation authority in our community with the postal workers in our community, with teachers, and the catholic church, for example, has been one that has played a leadership role in training congregants and activists to look for this problem. They're not just talking about sex trafficking. They're talking about people who come from other countries looking for an opportunity, get here, are enslaved and get their passports taken away and maybe they don't speak a word of english. They don't understand what their rights are. My hope is by pulling this commission together we're going to lift our voices up and make it possible for them to be freed from this scourge. I apologize for getting emotional, but it would be just unimaginable and end human slavery in our county working together. So, i'm going to ask for my colleagues' support on this important commission. And I want to thank [speaker not understood] and the district attorney who agreed to co-chair this. They have been fan fantastic in terms of getting more [speaker not understood]. I appreciate that.
11:04 AMThank you. that passed unanimously. Congratulations, and thank you, everyone.