Sometimes, human trafficking is hiding in plain sight.
“Human trafficking has affected every community in Orange County. We have been able to be connected to survivors across every community,” says Pam O’Dea, collaborative programs director for Safe Homes of Orange County.
It also takes many forms, including forced labor, migrant workers or any other labor that requires a physical force and manipulation.
Cases of sex trafficking, such as the recent Edwards trial tend to be more visible and prevalent, but victims advocate O'Dea says that labor trafficking without sex is happening here, too.
Those working to combat the issue say the signs of human trafficking are all around, and can especially affect young people, women, and immigrants.
“I see this child in front of the store begging for money. I go into the salon and the individuals there look like they're not being very well treated,” O’Dea says. “Or they come in a van load from different places in the community and they're being moved from one salon to another.”
And according to data from a study done by Covenant House, 77 percent of trafficking cases are perpetuated by someone the victim knows.