Mayor Sheng Thao Launches Human Trafficking Advisory Council
A coalition of public safety agencies, survivor advocate groups, and community-based organizations band together to disrupt human trafficking networks in Oakland
Oakland, CA - Mayor Sheng Thao joined Oakland City Council President Niki Fortunato Bas, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, the Oakland Police Department, the Oakland Department of Violence Prevention, Alameda County Sheriff's Department and a coalition of survivor advocate groups and community organizations in launching Mayor’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council.
“Oakland will not stand by while humans and in many cases, children are trafficked and exploited. The Oakland Police Department and our law enforcement partners will take action by investigating and disrupting organized criminal networks that take advantage of the most vulnerable and inflict harm on our community, while the Department of Violence Prevention and our community partners will work on preventative efforts and strategies to heal those that have been harmed,” said Mayor Sheng Thao. “The Human Trafficking Advisory Council is an essential element of my administration’s comprehensive community safety plan. The council represents a diverse coalition of partners that can develop and implement prevention, intervention, and enforcement strategies to combat human trafficking.”
The mission of the Human Trafficking Advisory Council is to coordinate the efforts of multiple agencies to disrupt the human trafficking trade in Oakland. Each agency contributes its unique focus and expertise to address prevention, intervention, enforcement, and healing.
For example, S.H.A.D.E. (Survivors Healing Advising and Dedicated to Empowerment) is an organization dedicated to empowering survivors of sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and domestic violence. S.H.A.D.E. offers support groups, advocacy and intervention, street outreach, survivor leaders, peer counseling, mentoring, and court advocacy services.
“Awareness isn’t a campaign. It’s an action. In this case, an action of love and urgency.”
Venus Morris, S.H.A.D.E Movement
Organizations like S.H.A.D.E. will coordinate their efforts with public safety agencies like the Oakland Police Department (OPD). In the current year, the OPD VICE/Child Exploitation Unit, in partnership with the FBI completed 26 critical investigations, with the following outcomes:
- 14 minors were rescued and offered safety services as a pathway towards safety and recovery.
- 27 individuals were arrested for solicitation.
- 14 individuals suspected of human trafficking were arrested.
- Multiple firearms were recovered.
“End exploitation, empower survivors. Say no to human trafficking in Oakland,” says Special Victims Sgt. Marcos Campos.
By coordinating efforts, the members can empower survivors of human trafficking and link them to a comprehensive support network while bringing traffickers to justice. The Council integrates law enforcement, violence prevention, and technology to drive intelligence-led operations and investigations. The Oakland Human Trafficking Advisory Council is an example of the comprehensive community safety strategy announced by Mayor Thao during her State of the City Address on October 17, 2023.
The Oakland Human Trafficking Advisory Council includes Mayor Sheng Thao, City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, District 7 City Council Member Treva Reid, S.H.A.D.E, Dream Youth Clinic, East Bay Asian Youth Center, Bay Area Women Against Rape, Covenant House, National Center for Youth Law, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland Department of Violence Prevention, the Oakland Police Department, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, Alameda County Probation Department, and the Office of the Alameda County District Attorney.