Sex trafficking task force targets San Fernando Valley

EMBED </>More Videos

Councilwoman Nury Martinez said prostitution and the sex trade have long been a problem in her district, but the victims involved are getting younger. (KABC)

The Los Angeles Police Department's Human Trafficking Task Force is ramping up its efforts to catch human traffickers in the San Fernando Valley.

Last year, officers made nine arrests for human trafficking, 25 arrests for pimping and pandering and arrested 755 johns.

In total, 12 victims of sex trafficking were rescued. Ten of those were teenage girls.

The task force, created two years ago, has focused on the San Fernando Valley. The city attorney's office has also created a new anti-sex and labor trafficking unit.

Councilwoman Nury Martinez said prostitution and the sex trade have long been a problem in her district, but the victims involved are getting younger.

"I just want to make sure that the message is clear: There is no place in my district for sex trafficking, for pimps or pedophiles or johns. Not on Sepulveda, not on Lankershim and nowhere in the streets or in any part of our cities," Martinez said.

The task force is working with neighborhood councils and encouraging residents to phone in tips. The city is also working with organizations that provide free diversion programs such as Journey Out to help women exit the world of commercial sexual exploitation.

"Nobody should ever think that coming here to buy or sell girls and women is every going to be tolerated. We are going to arrest you, you are going to go to jail and for all of the girls and women who are out there: You need to know that there is help for you and that we'll do anything that is necessary to rescue you," Martinez said.

Related Topics:
sex traffickingHuman TraffickingcrimeSan Fernando ValleyLos AngelesLos Angeles County
(Copyright ©2018 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)