Five hundred and forty one. That’s how many people have fallen victim to human trafficking in the Central Valley just since 2010.
On Tuesday The Fresno Superior Court along with multiple other government agencies announced that they’re adding a new Friday court schedule as well as launching a new online application starting in January. Both are being used to serve the county’s human trafficking victims.
“I was living in the streets, in cars, in hotel rooms. I never really had a sense of stability,” said Human Trafficking Survivor Arien Pauls.
It’s young women like Pauls, victimized at a young age and used for years in the human trafficking arena, who are the reason the county is introducing this new court schedule and anti-human trafficking online application.
“Behind every court hearing and every child there is now going to be a network of service providers, including part of the justice community, targeted to try to bring the best that we have to meet that individual child’s needs,” said Fresno County Juvenile Delinquency Court Judge Kim Nystrom-Geist.
The free public application will use GPS show emergency resources available to victims 24/7.
“It is an application that will guide the client to resources that will help them get out of the situation they’re in when they don’t feel comfortable reaching out to anyone,” said Client Delivery Executive at Shift Three Technologies Ricardo Banuelos.
Nystrom-Geist said this is an attempt to bring the Valley’s human trafficking problem under control.
“We were seeing more and more kids coming into the delinquency court that had been victims. Kids who had pimps. Kids who were coming in with black eyes. Kids who had been picked up in hotel rooms,” she said.
The Friday schedule will start and the app will launch January 19th, 2018.