Sacramento has a human trafficking problem.

Four years ago, the Human Rights Society dubbed Sacramento with the title of “Second Worst City in the US for Human Trafficking.”

In December of last year, Elan Seagraves, a soccer coach at John  F. Kennedy High School, was arrested on human trafficking charges and for pimping at least two minors.

In early February, 58-year-old Yun Escamilla was booked into Sacramento County Jail on five counts of felony pandering–the act of persuading/forcing someone to become a prostitute. Escamilla housed five young women, constantly transporting them between three different Sacramento residences. It was reported that some of the women being prostituted were from Hong Kong and all were of Asian descent.

“Sex trafficking”, as it is called, is a global epidemic.

Thousands of people worldwide have been sold into, coerced or manipulated into sex-slavery. It has poisoned countless communities, but how big is Sacramento’s human trafficking problem?

“It’s been highlighted that there is more human trafficking in Sacramento than in other jurisdictions, but I think that it is equal to other jurisdictions,” Cindy Stinson, Lieutenant for the Sacramento Police Department and co-founder of Community Against Sexual Harm or CASH, told AccessLocal.Tv in an interview. “One reason that, if there is more human trafficking on Sacramento is because we have lots of freeways that run through Sacramento and there’s something called the circuit, where women will be driven to different cities where the freeways are close.”

Lt. Stinson thinks that another one of the reasons human trafficking in Sacramento is so highlighted is because the city is so informed on the issue and strives to do more about it through nonprofit organizations like CASH and WEAVE.

But is there any way individuals can fight against human trafficking in Sacramento?

“One way we can fight against sex trafficking in Sacramento is to focus on the demand,” Lt. Stinson explained. “So instead of going out and arresting the women or focusing on forcing action on the women who really are the victims, we can really focus on the men who are creating the demands to buy women–who are trolling around looking to buy girls and women for sex.”

“If all the law enforcement agencies in Sacramento got together and decided, ‘Hey, we’re not going to put as much of our effort on arresting the women, we’re going to put a lot of our effort on arresting the men who are pimps, who are trafficking the women, that would have a huge impact. It would also deliver the message that Sacramento is not a place that you want to come to buy women or traffic women.”

If you or someone you know is or might be a victim of human trafficking, please encourage them to call 1-888-373-7888, or text HELP to 233733.