Archive for May, 2016

San Diego Fights Back Against Sex Trafficking

May 20, 2016

On December 20, 2014, the “Los Angeles Times” published an article entitled “San Diego region has become hub of gang-controlled prostitution rings.” By way of example, it covered a recent human trafficking enforcement operation that occurred in Eastern San Diego County. The operation resulted in the indictment of twenty-two suspected gang members and their associates for running a multi-state prostitution ring. Similar indictments in recent years have targeted gangs in the city of Oceanside and the North Park neighborhood of San Diego.

San Diego’s gang activities related to sex trafficking are no different than those employed by other gangs across the nation. In the last several years, crimes related to human trafficking have expanded because it, and its off-shoots, are lucrative businesses. Gangsters prey on society’s most vulnerable children, those who live in foster homes and impoverished neighborhoods.

After working with communities across the United States on this topic, I feel it’s imperative to assert that San Diego is NOT a unique hub of gang-controlled prostitution as asserted in the Times article. A more accurate description is that San Diego has a coalition of courageous leaders and policy makers who aggressively protect our communities. They work tirelessly to prevent human trafficking from occurring and prioritize enforcement that recovers victims and prosecutes suspects. In fact, San Diego is one of the first communities to respond to human trafficking and set a high standard for collaboratively combating both labor and sex trafficking.

In 2011, Diane Jacobs and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors teamed with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Sheriff Bill Gore to form the “San Diego Regional Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council.” Its goal is to implement a holistic, county-wide approach that integrates prevention, protection and prosecution partnerships.

In the past, crimes of this nature were the purview of police and prosecutors alone.  With today’s broader perspective, expertise and collaboration openly occur among professionals in education, law enforcement, child welfare, faith-based programs, victim service providers, university researchers and many other dedicated community members.

The San Diego Police Department’s Vice Unit, the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department are some of the most aggressive and highly trained law enforcement professionals in this area of criminal activity. In 2003, District Attorney Dumanis formed the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division with specialized prosecutors, investigators and victim advocates. The local United States Attorney’s Office has seen a 600 percent increase in human trafficking cases in the last five years.  In other words, these timely enforcement actions and strategies brought awareness to impacted communities sooner than elsewhere.  While local media are important partners in this fight, it’s critical that San Diego is not mis-characterized. San Diego is uniquely positioned to serve as a national example by holistically addressing trafficking crimes with aggregate expertise that effectively combats domestic human trafficking.  The strategies are being noticed by the federal government and heralded as a best-practice approach for replication nationwide.

The fact that the San Diego community recognized the scourge of domestic human trafficking and quickly took action in the form of training, awareness presentations, policy changes and three major law enforcement operations, should not create the impression that human trafficking gangs are any more prolific here.  Being known as a hub of sex trafficking is a distinction this community does not deserve. San Diego should be seen as a community with talented leaders who care enough about our children to forge strategies that break down bureaucratic barriers to arrest and prosecute criminals and save our children.

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Jenee Littrell Fights Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

May 17, 2016

Knowing that I’m writing a non-fiction book that incorporates issues related to sexual trafficking, Ms. Jenee Littrell recently sent me an op-ed piece that she’s authored on the topic. Her abbreviated bio follows below and I’ll publish her actual article on Thursday May 19, 2016

Jeneé Littrell was recently named the Director of Safe and Supportive Schools for the San Mateo County Office of Education. She has more than 16-years-experience as a strategic leader and innovator implementing effective supports for students.

 For five years, Jeneé concurrently served as the Director of Guidance and Wellness for the Grossmont Union High School District in eastern San Diego County and as Director of Project SHIELD, a federally funded, multi-million dollar Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant. She has led numerous trainings for teachers and administrators in Positive Behavior Supports and Restorative Justice Instruction. She has also held such roles as Crisis Team Coordinator, Parent-Community Liaison, SARB (Student Attendance Review Board) Coordinator, and has served as Director of Camp LEAD, a student-centered leadership program, since its inception in 2009.

 Ms. Littrell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration, a Master of Arts in Educational Counseling, a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and two educational credentials, a PPS (Pupil Personnel Services) credential and an ASC (Administrative Services) credential. In 2010, she earned a Mental Health in Schools Certificate from George Washington University in Washington DC.

 In 2011 Jeneé was appointed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to serve as the Chair of the Human Trafficking/Commercial Sexual Exploitation Advisory Council. This multidisciplinary group is charged with identifying best practices in prevention, enforcement and protection of minors involved in domestic sex trafficking.

Jeneé recently authored Human Trafficking in America’s Schools with the Department of Education. This guide is based on the CSEC model that she created in the Grossmont Union High School District and serves as a resource for schools across the nation to address and prevent CSEC on school campuses.

Jeneé is a nationally recognized expert in the area of CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children), and this past spring was named Citizen of the Year by the Department of Justice and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

May 14 Book Signing in San Diego

May 8, 2016

For immediate release

Contact: Nicole Sours Larson 858-274-6160; nsours.larson@gmail.com

T.B. Smith, Author of Luke Jones Novels, to speak at San Diego Chapter of Sisters in Crime May 14.

Partners in Crime, the newly reestablished San Diego chapter of the national organization Sisters in Crime, will welcome T. B. Smith, retired San Diego Police Department lieutenant and author of the Luke Jones cop novels, as speaker at their second meeting to be held on Saturday, May 14. He will have copies of his novels available for purchase and signing. His subject will be Understanding the police: why authors, movies and television shows nearly always get it wrong and what to do about it. (Please see his bio below.)The chapter will meet from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.at San Diego Writers Ink, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd., Suite 202 (located above the Women’s Museum) in Liberty Station, Point Loma.

Sisters in Crime is a national organization with local chapters which supports mystery and crime writers and promotes reading the genre. We are authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians bound by our affection for the mystery genre and our support of women who write mysteries. We are open for everyone’s participation.

Each meeting will feature a short reading from a recently published or soon-to-be-published novel followed by a presentation by a mystery or crime writer or knowledgeable professional in a field of interest to mystery writers and readers. San Diego chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month, starting with a social period with refreshments, followed by a brief membership meeting.

Attendance is free for members and $5 for non-members, which may be applied to membership. Dues are $25 per year, plus membership in the national organization. Members may join at our meeting, with payment by check, cash or credit card, or online athttp://www.sistersincrimesd.org.

Please let us know you’re planning to attend — but drop-ins welcome, too! Please RSVP to SDPartnersinCrime@gmail.com.

T.B. Smith, a former police lieutenant, joined the San Diego Police Department in 1978. He began his second career as an author while recovering from a car accident that forced him to retire from law enforcement.

During his police career, Mr. Smith gained extensive experience as a trainer, teacher, and public speaker. He worked as one of two teaching specialists responsible for the ongoing training of a police department with 1800 members. He’s also taught traffic school and lectured at the University of Southern California’s Delinquency Control Institute. Mr. Smith has spoken to dozens of business and community groups as a Community Relations Officer in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter and is a founding member and former vice president of the SDPD’s Toastmasters Club in addition to being former vice president of the San Diego City Schools Police Officers’ Association.

Mr. Smith’s radio interviews about police use of deadly force have aired in such cities as San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, Washington D.C., Dallas, and New York. His academic achievements include being both class president and honor graduate of the 107th Delinquency Control Institute at the University of Southern California where he subsequently joined the faculty. He majored in Literature and Creative Writing at San Diego State University.

Mr. Smith lives in Ashland, Oregon, where he enjoys attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.