Abolish Human Trafficking

Join us in the effort to Abolish Human Trafficking

The Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) at Point Loma Nazarene University seeks to research our community to contribute to the growing need to understand and engage locally, nationally and internationally around the issues related to human trafficking. The CJR’s mission is to “At the CJR we leverage research, advocacy, and innovation, dedicated to justice and reconciliation, to transform our community through social change.” There is a contemporary global abolition movement on the rise, and the students, faculty and staff of PLNU have taken responsibility for getting involved. Welcome to the movement.

Gangs and Sex Trafficking Research

Study Reveals Complex and Widespread Sex-Trafficking Occurring Throughout San Diego County


Read the Executive Summary here

SAN DIEGO, CA – The surprising findings of a three-year study on gang-involved sex trafficking, funded by the Department of Justice, were released on October 26, 2016. The groundbreaking study, “Measuring the Nature and Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego,” lead by University of San Diego Kroc School of Peace Studies Professor Ami C. Carpenter, PhD, in collaboration with Point Loma Nazarene University Professor Jamie Gates, PhD, gathered and analyzed data from hundreds of current and former gang members, schools, law enforcement agencies, and victim service providers. 

“This study is the first long-term, comprehensive collection of data on the Commercially Sexually Exploited People (CSEP) industry ever conducted in San Diego County,” said Carpenter. “Our research combines the intelligence we gathered through hundreds of interviews with gang members, law enforcement representatives, school administrators and other community members with critical information we collected by reviewing incident, arrest and contact data provided by law enforcement agencies. The result is a report that accurately measures the various facets of San Diego’s growing human trafficking problem.”

Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Gates designed the study in collaboration with survivor service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, County schools, and other researchers. “The inter-agency collaborative nature of Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Gates’ work will be invaluable to San Diego’s law enforcement community,” said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.

According to the study, in San Diego County, the underground sex economy represents an estimated $810 million in annual revenue and involves more than 100 area gangs. The study estimates the minimum number of CSEP at 1,766 per year with an average age of entry between 14 to 15 years old.

Other key findings include:

  • Number of “prostitution” arrests which are actually cases of sex-trafficking;

  • Proportion of CSEP victims who are U.S. citizens versus those trafficked from other countries;

  • Cities & neighborhoods most at risk for commercial sexual exploitation

  • The number of gangs in San Diego involved in sex-trafficking, and their characteristics;

  • Demographics of traffickers and trafficked individuals (age, ethnicity, etc.);

  • Key “hotspots” where sex-trafficking occurs;

  • Recruitment tactics; and

  • Recruitment activity within local public schools.

Looking forward, the study highlights future trends, which include the need for cross-sector approaches to community problems and sustainable capital for nonprofits. In addition, the study provides victim service providers with the data needed to justify substantial improvements in the size and scope of support services.

This project was supported by Award No. 2012-R2-CX-0028, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this study are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice. In addition, members of the San Diego County Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council supported the study.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and the creation of ethical leaders. Chartered in 1949, the school enrolls approximately 8,300 undergraduate and graduate full-time equivalent students. The University of San Diego has a long history of public service and is recognized as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. The university’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, The School of Business Administration, The Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, The School of Law, The School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Sciences, The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. For more information, visit: www.sandiego.edu.

About Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University is a selective Christian liberal arts institution located in San Diego, California. Founded in 1902, PLNU is known not only for its 90-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean but also for its well-rounded, forward-thinking graduates. In addition to more than 60 undergraduate areas of study, PLNU offers graduate programs and adult degree options at regional centers throughout Southern California. PLNU serves more than 3,500 students. For more information, visit: pointloma.edu


Additional Resources


For a deeper researching experience, below are informative resources from articles and fact sheets, to state and news reports. 

  1. US State Department 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report

  2. Prostitution Research and Education: Go to the library and search research by topic

  3. Prostitution and Trafficking of Women and Children from Mexico to the United States

  4. The Social Construction of Sex Trafficking and Institutionalization of a Moral Crusade

  5. Transforming Communities to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: A Primary Prevention Approach

Visit HT-RADAR Research Roundtable for up to date research articles and reports

Through the Human Trafficking Research and Data Advisory Roundtable (HT-RADAR), the Center for Justice & Reconciliation (CJR) leads coordination of human trafficking research and an annual research conference that brings speakers and participants from all over to San Diego. The CJR maintains an Action-Research agenda studying sex and labor trafficking in San Diego. Action-Research combines empirical research and deep collaboration with community partners to affect best practices, policies, and funding strategies for ending human trafficking.


Wesleyan Holiness Consortium Declaration for Freedom

Department of Education

Better World Shopper

  • A comprehensive account for social and environmental responsibilities of companies and a corresponding tool to use while shopping to buy slave-free products focusing on 5 key issues of human rights, the environment, animal protection, community involvement and social justice. Visit: https://betterworldshopper.org/


  • Mobile App download that provides information on the company’s labor standards and practices as you’re shopping by simply scanning the barcode of an item. The app brings awareness to consumers as to what types of labor practices they are supporting through the purchasing of their products. Visit: http://www.free2work.org/

Products of Slavery

  • World map highlighting locations where child labor exists as well as information as to what specific products the region uses child labor for. Visit: http://productsofslavery.org/

Stop Trafficking: Anti-Human Trafficking Newsletter

  • See current and back issues of the newsletter and resources from religious congregations and collaborating organizations.

Abolitionist Mamas

  • Community organizers who are refusing to do nothing and raising awareness and support for abolitionist groups.

Churches Against Trafficking

  • Join a faith based community dedicated to engaging in anti-trafficking work and supporting direct service organizations in your area. Learn about human trafficking with an HT101 video in English and Spanish. Get involved by engaging in a list of Action Steps you can take to make a difference. Visit: www.churchesagainsttrafficking.com/action-steps



Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is a hard-hitting documentary that exposes the disturbing trends of modern day sex slavery.

Born into Brothels

Highlighting the red light district of Calcutta and following the children whose mothers work as prostitutes there

Call and Response

Combination of research, abolitionists, and musicians; the film explores Slavery and exposes the popularity of the hidden system which in 2009 made more than Nike, Google, and Starbucks combined

Cargo Innocence Lost

Highlighting sex trafficking all over the globe through interviews with victims and their advocates


Focuses on trafficking in the United States; Calls into question America’s definition of human trafficking and follows current and past slaves, pimps, and abolitionists

Free the Slaves

Multiple documentaries centered around the theme of freedom for slaves

Happy Endings?

Follows an Asian massage parlor known for having discovered a loop-hole in the system to make the exchange of sex for money legal


Illustration of the sexual exploitation occurring in San Diego with a focus on its impact on families and community

Lives for Sale

Immigration and human trafficking

Not for Sale

Covers modern day abolitionist efforts to fight trafficking in the U.S. and abroad

Not My Life

Covers 5 continents and multiple countries, Not My Life is predominantly a message of hope

Price of Sex

Follows young eastern European women and their life as sex slaves

The Day My God Died

Highlighting sex trafficking in Bombay with actual footage from the brothels and stories describing the day victims were abducted and sold into slavery

Sex Slaves

Follows on man determined to rescue his wife who has been sold to global sex trade

Very Young Girls

Highlighting sex trafficking of 13 and 14 year old girls in America


San Diego Trafficking Emergency Hotline: To report an incident of human trafficking in San Diego, please call (619) 666-2757

National Trafficking Emergency Hotline: (888) 373-7888


There are many ways we can get involved to abolish human trafficking. Many local organizations are involved in supporting survivors. We encourage you to get involved by contacting an organization listed below. To see up to date needs lists and prayer requests for San Diego direct service organizations visit: www.churchesagainsttrafficking.com/support-direct-services

Sometimes it helps to just consider where we shop and what we buy. These additional resources can help you get more information about what is happening in the movement, where to shop for slave-free products, and more. If you have a resource that you think would be helpful, please let us know. Contact us at cjr@pointloma.edu.

Alabaster Jar

The Alabaster Jar Project provides a safe living environment and transitional housing that facilitates spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional healing along with an array of support services and educational opportunities. They also provide vocational opportunities and training through our social enterprise. Visit: www.alabasterjarproject.org



GenerateHope provides a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking to be restored through long-term housing, healing, psychotherapy and education. Since recovery from sexual exploitation is a long-term process, GenerateHope provides safety, community, and individualized life skills support to work through the deep trauma and discover a healthy, purpose-filled life. Visit: generatehope.org

Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition

The Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC) is an alliance of over 60 government and nonprofit agencies in the United States and Latin America that is convened in and along the U.S.-Mexico Border Region to combat slavery and human trafficking. Incorporated in 2002 as a 501(c)3, its purpose is to bilaterally prevent and intervene in the commercial and sexual exploitation of women and children while advocating for all exploited persons. Through the collaborative efforts of coalition members, BSCC administers a variety of projects and services for victims, law enforcement, and the community. Visit: www.bsccoalition.org/about

Project Concern International

PCI is a global development organization dedicated to empowering families and communities to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship. Founded in 1961, PCI impacted the lives of more than 10 million people last year alone through programs in 16 countries spanning Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Visit: www.pciglobal.org

Marys Guest House

Mary’s Guest House was born in November 2005 following in-depth research on the needs of trafficking survivors. Mary’s Guest House specifically addresses the urgent need of appropriate shelter for women survivors over the age of eighteen. Staffed full-time by two Sisters, the guest house accommodates five women. The ultimate goal is to help the guests rebuild their lives and become self-reliant or to return to their family. Communal life is shared with the guests, accompanying them as mentors and supporting them in their struggles, hopes and dreams. Collaboration is offered with an array of services addressing their physical, medical, immigration, educational, spiritual and psychological needs. Visit: www.marysguesthouse.net/our-story

Children of the Immaculate Heart

Children of the Immaculate Heart (CIH) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation operating in San Diego, CA. Their mission is to serve survivors of human trafficking and open the door to their restoration in Jesus Christ. They currently have a housing and rehabilitation program for adult women who are survivors of trafficking and have children. Visit: childrenoftheimmaculateheart.org

Salvation Army Door of Hope

The  Door of Hope is a 7-acre campus filled with programs to give hope and transform lives. The Salvation Army Door of Hope offers a safe haven at the Transitional Living Center where families may stay while rebuilding their lives. With career counseling, the women focus on finding a job, learn to budget and save 80% of their income. Visit: doorofhope.salvationarmy.org

Center for Community Solutions

Founded in 1969, Center for Community Solutions (CCS) has served more than 21,000 adults and children last year to heal and prevent relationship and sexual violence. CCS operates the only rape crisis center in the city of San Diego along with a countywide 24-hour bilingual crisis helpline. The nonprofit agency also provides emergency domestic violence shelters, hospital and court accompaniment, as well as legal and counseling services for those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. CCS also works with local community groups and schools to provide innovative prevention programs to promote healthy relationships and peaceful communities. Visit: www.ccssd.org

North County Lifeline – Project LIFE

Project LIFE is an advocacy program that works with people of all ages who have been or are currently victims or survivors of Sex and Labor Trafficking identified by local law enforcement, self-identify, or the community. Project LIFE offers trauma informed services that include victim advocacy, crisis management, safety planning, intensive case management and therapy to survivors throughout San Diego County. Project LIFE offers trainings on human trafficking to raise community awareness and to give first responders and the community the tools they need to identify signs and report. Visit: www.nclifeline.org/project-life

La Maestra Community Health Centers

La Maestra Community Health Centers (LMCHC) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) and a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). For the past 24 years, LMCHC has provided culturally and linguistically competent primary care, specialty services including behavioral and mental health, chronic disease management and essential support services to men, women and children in San Diego’s most culturally diverse and lowest income communities. Services are provided at four medical clinics, seven dental sites, three school-based health centers, and a mobile medical unit. Visit: www.lamaestra.org

San Diego Youth Services

San Diego Youth Services is a nationally recognized, non-profit organization that has helped to improve the lives of more than 700,000 homeless, runaway, abused and at-risk youth and their families. Founded in 1970, now provides services to more than 19,000 children and their families each year. Visit: sdyouthservices.org

Hidden Treasures

Hidden Treasures Foundation is dedicated to the rescue and restoration of women and children victimized by sex slavery in the human trafficking industry. Their goal is to provide housing, life planning, and mentoring for these victims, ensuring they have a safe and viable escape from being trafficked. Visit: hiddentreasuresfoundation.org

International Network of Hearts

International Network of Hearts is a 501 c-3 non-profit organization based in San Diego that grew out of concerns about human trafficking circuits operating between the U.S.-Mexico border, the busiest international land crossing in the world. They provide comprehensive residential services and optimal care to survivors of human trafficking through Casa del Jardín (the Garden House), a group home we founded to address the specific needs of child survivors between the ages of 12-17. The Garden House is the first and only safe house in Baja California designed for young girls recovering from human trafficking. Visit: inetworkofhearts.org

National Educators to Stop Trafficking (NEST)

NEST equips teachers and youth leaders with age-appropriate curriculum and resources to educate and empower youth–teaching them how to avoid being trafficked, how to stand up for victims of trafficking, and how to spread the word in their communities so that sexual exploitation and human trafficking become a thing of the past. Visit: nesteducators.org

Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking

FAAST is a Christian Alliance working in collaboration to eradicate human trafficking and restore survivors. FAAST mobilizes organizations and communities to generate a united and active response by creating tools, training, information, sharing and collaboration. Some of the tool kits provided through FAAST include a church, a community, a school, and an international tool kit. Visit: www.faastinternational.org

Demand Abolition

Demand Abolition is committed to eradicating the illegal commercial sex industry in the US—and, by extension, the world—by combating the demand for purchased sex. Recognizing that it takes sustained efforts and significant collaboration to establish lasting change, we’re spearheading a multi-year, multi-stakeholder national strategy. Visit: www.demandabolition.org


Demandforum.net is a comprehensive online resource for people interested in preventing sex trafficking and prostitution. Here you’ll find information on initiatives in more than 1,050 communities in the U.S. aimed at deterring or apprehending men who buy sex. The site also includes details about tactics useful for starting, improving, and sustaining practices designed to combat demand. Visit: www.demandforum.net

International Justice Mission

Information on a variety of options for involvement including partnerships in prayer and the arts, for students and schools, and through volunteer and internship opportunities. Visit: www.ijm.org/get-involved


We invite you to be a part of the movement. The Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund at Point Loma Nazarene University will support the education of  survivors of human trafficking, help launch passionate young people into meaningful careers tackling modern day slavery and strengthen the university’s role in mentoring young leaders in the movement.

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