The study, which will include Point Loma Nazarene’s Dr. Jamie Gates, is entitled “Measuring the Extent and Nature of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in the San Diego/Tijuana Border Region.” The research will take place over the next three years, beginning in January.
Through their research, the three professors will gather empirical evidence of the suspected relationship between gangs and human trafficking, said Point Loma Nazarene officials. Significantly, they will also create an integrated human-trafficking database that will include new sources of data, in addition to the information received through social service and law enforcement agencies.
The new sources will include those identified as trafficking victims at San Diego middle and high schools, along with ethnographic data from traffickers themselves.
“Communities around the country are trying to get a handle on the scope and nature of the human trafficking in their neighborhoods,” said Gates. “We have gained unprecedented cooperation from schools, as well as a broad range of law enforcement agencies and social service organizations in San Diego County.”
The new research builds on a yearlong study of gangs in San Diego and Tijuana, which established that 10 San Diego gangs are involved in sex trafficking.
Gates co-chairs the Research and Data Subcommittee of the multi-agency San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (RHT-CSEC) Advisory Council. The council’s ultimate goal is to reduce human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in San Diego County and the Mexico border region.
“Our work lays the foundation for a system of integrated data collection across the county and serves as a model to other regions,” said Gates. “We have also established something we’re calling RADAR (Research and Data Advisory Roundtable) on human trafficking. HT-RADAR is an independent collaborative of professional researchers in San Diego County pooling our knowledge and research resources to better understand and address this complex and multi-faceted social problem.”
For more information, visit www.pointloma.edu.