The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is child abuse and a form of modern-day slavery. Sex trafficking exists in every community across the United States.
Facts - The Myths & Realities
- Myth: Children willingly sell themselves for sex.
Reality: Children that engage in commercial sex are being exploited. The average age of entry into the “life” is between 12-14 years old.
- Myth: These children are prostitutes.
Reality: Children who are forced to work in the commercial sex industry are victims. They are often raped, beaten, and held in isolation by their exploiters.
- Myth: The “Johns” are committing a “victimless” crime.
Reality: Adults who purchase children for sex are child rapists. By creating the demand for the commercial sex industry of minors, they perpetuate the sexual abuse of children.
- Myth: Human sex trafficking only takes place in other countries.
Reality: The sex trafficking of minors is an epidemic in the United States. Most victims of sex trafficking are from local communities and are school aged.
Take action & help
Free a Child
Report suspected sex trafficking by calling 911. For non-emergencies, call the H.E.A.T Watch Tipline at 510-208-4959 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To help a child who you think might be a victim of sex trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or text BeFree.
Learn & Teach
Access our H.E.A.T. Watch toolkit, a guide to combatting human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in your own community. Find resources, templates, information and more. Create your own H.E.A.T. Watch program to hold traffickers accountable, keep victims safe, and engage your community.
Take part in community outreach efforts and make an impact. Visit the H.E.A.T. Watch website for an up-to-date list of local, statewide, and national anti-human trafficking events.
About the Campaign
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is a leader in the state and the nation in the fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. In partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor and local community based organizations, the District Attorney’s Office is honored to unveil its newest public awareness campaign consisting of billboards and bus shelter posters visible throughout the county of Alameda, CA. The campaign seeks to achieve two overarching goals: to educate the public about the epidemic of human sex trafficking taking place in local communities and to help children who are currently being exploited to find a safe path to freedom.
We launched the original billboard campaign in January 2014 in recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This campaign promotes local resources for victims of child sex trafficking and educates the public about ways they can help exploited youth.
With increased awareness and with tips that can be anonymous, more victims will be identified and linked to support services. Prevention programs will help keep our children from becoming victims of exploitation or exploiters themselves.
Stay up to date about the campaign by joining the H.E.A.T. Watch mailing list. We’ll keep you informed about the billboard launch and other community events on human trafficking. To inquire about the licensing of these images for use in your community, contact BAHC@acgov.org.
Find Resources in Your Area
Since 1994, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office has been a local and national leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. In 2010 the Office created H.E.A.T.Watch in partnership with Alameda County Health Care Services. H.E.A.T.Watch is a blueprint that provides for comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking and a means to prosecute exploiters to the fullest extent of the law. The 5-point strategy central to H.E.A.T.Watch is: law enforcement training; aggressive prosecution of offenders; community education; coordination of victim services; and engagement of policy-makers.
MISSSEY is a community-based organization providing support to and advocacy for commercially sexually exploited youth in Alameda County. MISSSEY's Training Institute delivers specialized and informative training to government agencies, non profits, mental health professionals, educational institutions and the public on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Abolitionist Mom is an anti-trafficking consultancy that works with community organizations, government agencies and corporations to raise awareness about human trafficking and child exploitation. Information about domestic child sex trafficking and prevention education resources for teachers, parents and journalists can be found at AbolitionistMom.org.
Clear Channel Outdoor is committed to being a strong community partner in each of the markets in which its employees live and work. Clear Channel Communities™ is the community engagement brand of Clear Channel that champions critical issues and causes.