According to Heatwatch.org, 80 percent of reported human trafficking cases in California occurred in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. Rebecca Dharmapalan, now a 19-year-old UC Berkeley student, has been doing something about this since high school.
At Oakland School of Arts she created and produced “International Boulevard,” a short documentary about child-sex trafficking in Oakland. “I decided to use art as a means of exploring activism,” she recently told Mashable. “I didn’t realize there were so many people in Oakland using art as a way of expressing their changemaking, so I figured I’d try it out.”
Her sustained attention to the issue is warranted. The Department of Justice reports that 300,000 U.S. children are at risk of being prostituted, and the age for entry into this sex work is 13 or 14. Further, in a recent report from the Office of Victims of Crime, 40.4 percent of confirmed sex trafficking victims are black. Even more shocking, FBI reports show that when it comes to arrests of teens under the age of 18, black children make up 55 percent of all prostitution-related arrests in the U.S.
Read more on Dharmapalan’s story on Mashable.