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‘STOLEN' Docuseries: A Deep Dive Into Sex Trafficking, Including Debunked Myths and Warnings for Parents

“STOLEN” is a year-long NBC San Diego investigation into the sex trafficking and exploitation of children. While focused in San Diego County, this 7-part docuseries -- told from the perspectives of survivors, advocates, traffickers, and sex buyers -- sheds light on issues that are prevalent in every community. It also aims to arm parents everywhere with the tools and knowledge to keep their children safe. And with more children online during the coronavirus pandemic, experts say they are at greater risk of exploitation now more than ever. “STOLEN” celebrates the strength of survivors and their families, as they struggle to free themselves from the bonds of sex trafficking. See the full series here.

NBC 7 Investigates brings you a new documentary series that goes into human trafficking in San Diego County and beyond.

Watch the Full Series


Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking or exploitation. Understand the issue in a new way by hearing the jailhouse calls between a convicted sex trafficker and his young teenage victims. Meet a father who says his daughter is trapped in the dark world of trafficking and a survivor who has dedicated her life to helping others understand an issue that is widely misunderstood. “The Problem” explains the psychology behind this complex issue, how it happens, the myths surrounding the issue, and how virtually anyone can become a victim.

Watch Episode One

Never before seen evidence links exploitation to nearly every school district in San Diego County, and new data shows an alarming rise in schools reporting at-risk children. Also, a ride along with a survivor details well-known sex trafficking hot spots in San Diego. “The Scope” dives into how widespread the problem is and explains why the black market industry thrives in this coastal community -- The reasons may not be what you expect. 

Watch Episode Two

A suspected sex buyer gives an on-camera interview immediately after being handcuffed by San Diego’s Human Trafficking Task Force. And the elite multi-agency law enforcement team gives a peek inside its operation during Comic-Con, a time of year detectives characterize as a “peak time” for sex buying. NBC 7 also discovers a dramatic discrepancy in the ethnicity of traffickers arrested.

Watch Episode Three

The jailhouse recordings of a convicted trafficker manipulating two teen girls into selling themselves online led to an NBC 7 investigation of how a wealthy San Diego businessman received immunity from San Diego County prosecutors, despite his admission that he paid underage girls for sex. “The One Who Got Away” explores gaps in the justice system that allow people who pay children for sex to face little to no consequences.

Watch Episode Four

Since the coronavirus pandemic sent more kids online than ever before, thousands of teenagers are vulnerable to exploiters through their social media profiles. “The Vulnerable” explains how victims are being targeted especially online. Hear the warning signs from parents who’ve lived the nightmare, and the risk factors everyone should know to keep kids safe.

Watch Episode 5

What role does our culture play in driving the illegal sex trade? Two former traffickers say they were groomed by a culture that glamorized sex and the “pimp life,” and go inside San Diego’s “traffic school” for sex buyers. In “The Culture” you’ll also hear from two unique artists on a mission to change pop culture.

Watch Episode 6

What’s being done to help prevent sex trafficking, educate our youth and support survivors? Is it enough? In “The Solutions,” NBC 7 sat down with leaders in the fight against trafficking to learn more about what's being done and how you can be part of the solution.

Watch Episode 7

The STOLEN series focuses on the domestic sex trafficking of children in San Diego, but there are many layers to this complex issue including labor and international trafficking. Viewers are encouraged to explore the resources provided and learn more about trafficking and how you can get involved.

Watch This Episode


Click here to watch the full "STOLEN" series.

  • If you or someone you know could be a victim of sex trafficking or exploitation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text the words "BeFree" or 233733
  • If you have a question or story tip for the STOLEN team, email us at stolen@nbcuni.com
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