A San Diego father says his 19-year-old daughter is being trafficked for sex by an older boyfriend she met when she was still in High School.
"I've cried quite a bit. It hit home, it is personal now,” the father, who we'll call "John,” said. “This is a lot to process emotionally and mentally. On all levels, it's just heavy."
John said in June the girl's mother found evidence of their daughter being sold for sex online. We're concealing John's identity to protect the teenager who he said is still trapped in the dark underworld of trafficking.
"I'm just beside myself to be completely honest that it actually hit home," he said.
This painful revelation came to light the very same week a San Diego-based leadership academy, of which John is a member, began a fundraising campaign for GenerateHope, a San Diego non-profit that helps sex trafficking survivors rebuild their lives.
"I would have never imagined becoming a voice to help survivors of sex trafficking but I really believe there's purpose behind this," John said. "We're currently raising funds for GenerateHope to create safe havens for young women who are survivors to have a safe place to go to get rehabilitated."
His painful personal connection is generating new urgency for the group's fundraising efforts. They're on a mission to raise $100,000 in 30 days. John said they’re raising money while also raising awareness about a growing epidemic impacting families here in San Diego and beyond.
"To any parents out there, I'm bringing awareness to you to really keep an eye out on your children and know that there are predators out there," John said.
The group raised $8,500 in the first two hours and they now have more than $30,000 for the cause. They’re hoping others will join them in reaching their fundraising goal of $100,000 by July 22. To donate click here.
Facts on Sex Trafficking from GenerateHope
- Human trafficking is San Diego’s 2nd largest underground economy, second only to drugs and ahead of guns
- The FBI places San Diego in its Top 8 hot spots for sex trafficking
- $810 million in revenue annually for this underground sex economy in San Diego County alone
- Between 3,500-5,000 victims/survivors annually
- Victim’s average age is 16 years old
- On average a victim will be trafficked for 3 years before reaching the attention of law enforcement