Billboards to 3.5 Million: No Tolerance on Selling Kids for Sex

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San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie  Dumanis unveiled a billboard campaign Thursday to raise public awareness of growing cases of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.

The billboards will appear at nine locations across the county and will be seen by an estimated 3.5 million people in the first month.

“Our message is clear. Our community will not tolerate the sale and purchase of children for sex,” Dumanis said. “We want everyone in San Diego County to be informed about this public safety crisis and understand how to be a part of the solution.”

The campaign is a collaboration between the District Attorney’s Office, Clear Channel Outdoor and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Clear Channel donated the billboards for 30 days, and afterwards vacant billboard space will be used for the campaign though the end of the year.

Clear Channel and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System are also providing space on bus shelters for a separate outreach campaign aimed at runaway girls.

In addition, a new website  — ProtectSanDiegoKids.org — provides information on how to prevent human trafficking, how to spot it and how to report it.

Cases prosecuted under state sex trafficking statutes have more than tripled over the past four years in San Diego County, reaching 46 in 2013. The FBI has designated San Diego County as a “high intensity child prostitution area.”

“Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business that impacts all of us and demands greater public awareness to help protect victims,” said Greg McGrath, president of Clear Channel Outdoor – Southern California. “Despite the enormity of the problem, many people don’t know it’s happening right here in San Diego and the victims are often unaware that help is available.”