Since 1989, The Lynch Foundation For Children has supported a number of important children’s issues, especially those involving reading. We now have an additional focus on a cause of paramount importance. That cause is the fight against the exploding epidemic of child sex trafficking. As unbelievable as it seems, in depth studies show that hundreds of San Diego's children are victims of unthinkable sexual abuse by gangs and organized crime. They hook the victims on heavy drugs and sell the sexual services of a single child for as much as $500,000 per year.
The Lynch Foundation is now working on this major issue in coordination with the San Diego County Human Trafficking Advisory Board, national and local law enforcement, The Children’s Advocacy Institute at University of San Diego, Saved in America, the educational system, and various NGO's. To fight this ugly truth, we are using a three-pronged prevention approach of education, legislative reform, and assisting in locating runaway children. To paraphrase the ancient proverb we believe, “he who saves one child saves the world."
16 years is the average age of entry into sexual exploitation and trafficking.
On average "Johns" are issued a citation and pay only $200 in fines.
Human trafficking is an $810 million industry in San Diego County.
100% of 20 San Diego high schools confirmed that recruitment is happening to their students.
1 in 3 runaway teens is lured into prostitution within 48 hours.
There are between 8,830 and 11,773 victims/survivors per year in San Diego of whom 1,766 came into contact with law enforcement.
THREE COMPONENTS TO THIS CAUSE:
Buyers soliciting minors are rarely caught and most are merely issued a citation and fined a few hundred dollars. In partnership with the University of San Diego’s School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute under the leadership of nationally renowned professor Robert Fellmeth, we are creating a deterrence mechanism against these men taking advantage of our teenagers. We are supporting this cause and advocating to local, state, and federal legislators to enact new laws that protect our at-risk youth.
Education is a major key to preventing the sexual exploitation of minors – that was one of the recommendations handed down by the California Child Welfare Council in June 2013. The Lynch Foundation believes strongly in this element, which is why we support two vital programs that are dedicated to this effort; PROTECT and kNOw MORE.
The PROTECT program was developed by three anti-human trafficking organizations: 3Strands Global, Love Never Fails, and Frederick Douglas Family Initiatives. Collectively, PROTECT's founders have educated more than 100,000 students in 20 California counties and three states (GA, NY, and HI) over the last 10 years. PROTECT has partnered with the California Attorney General and the California Department of Education to provide a scalable and systematic prevention education program.
kNOw MORE Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Curriculum is a peer-to-peer and drama-based curriculum that tackles the challenge of preventing the recruitment of our kids into sex trafficking. Research shows an alarming recruitment effort by traffickers in our local schools, and this program targets the most vulnerable students in our region. The Center for Justice & Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University led a collaboration to design kNOw MORE that included the County Office of Education, the San Diego Unified School District, Child Welfare Services, survivor leaders, law enforcement, and others in the community.
We support Saved In America (SIA). SIA is a non-profit, investigative organization comprised of law enforcement officers and three teams of Navy Seals who have become licensed and insured private investigators. At no charge to families, SIA assists law enforcement in gathering intelligence to locate runaway and missing children, many whom have fallen victim to sex trafficking. Since 2014, they have assisted law enforcement departments across the nation in locating 42 children within an average of 9 days of being alerted to the situation.