Issues

Los Angeles County, Long Beach Officials Launch Safe Youth Zone

5mz_1385

Los Angeles County and City of Long Beach officials gathered in Long Beach today to launch the Safe Youth Zone program, which creates a network of safe places for child sex trafficking victims and children in desperate situations to seek help and services at designated facilities. The program will be piloted at Compton and Century Sheriff’s Stations, Lynwood and Willowbrook County Fire Stations, and the Long Beach Police Department’s downtown station.

“As the ultimate safety net, Los Angeles County has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable children,” said Supervisor Don Knabe. “The Safe Youth Zone program creates a safe place for our youngest child sex trafficking victims to seek out help when they find themselves in a desperate situation. While we are starting with public safety stations, my hope is that all County facilities will one day serve as Safe Youth Zones for our most at-risk children to find a place for help and hope.”

“Keeping kids safe is a top priority for the City of Long Beach, and we greatly appreciate Supervisor Knabe collaborating with us to create Safe Youth Zones,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Our public safety departments will continue working with the County of Los Angeles and our community partners to combat human trafficking and protect our young people.”

Said Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell: “My goal for creating the Sheriff’s Department Human Trafficking Bureau has been to identify and rescue victims of trafficking and exploitation. It is both appropriate and necessary that we make available to the public our Sheriff’s Stations as a safe place for those who need them the most.”

Said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby: “Our 173 County fire stations have always been — and will always remain — a safe and welcome zone for youth, especially those seeking help and protection during times of need and desperation. Through Supervisor Knabe’s Safe Youth Zone Program expansion, County fire stations and sheriff’s stations are able to immediately request services for a child, so he or she can be placed in a more healthy, secure environment than what they left.”

“We are pleased to participate in a program that offers a safe place where our youth can seek help and resources,” stated Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. “I would like to thank Supervisor Knabe for his efforts in coordinating this outstanding example of the collective efforts being carried out by our local government to help those who are most vulnerable.”  

L.A. County, Long Beach Officials to Launch Safe Youth Zone

5469TA_4DistSafeZone_4STK5

What:

Los Angeles County and City of Long Beach officials will gather in Long Beach to launch the Safe Youth Zone program, which creates a network of safe places for child sex trafficking victims and children in desperate situations to seek help and services at designated facilities. The program will be piloted at Compton and Century Sheriff’s Stations, Lynwood and Willowbrook County Fire Stations, and the Long Beach Police Department’s downtown station.

Who:

*         Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor

*         Dr. Robert Garcia, Mayor, City of Long Beach

*         Daryl Osby, Chief, Los Angeles County Fire Department

*         Robert Luna, Chief, Long Beach Police Department

*         Chris Marks, Captain, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Human Trafficking Bureau

*         Michelle Guymon, Los Angeles County Probation Department

*         Jessica Midkiff, Survivor-Advocate

When:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
10:30am

Where:

Long Beach Police Department Headquarters
Community Room – 1st Floor
400 West Broadway, Long Beach, 90802
(Located at west end of the building, near Magnolia Ave.)

Background:

Earlier this year, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called for the expansion and rebranding of the County’s Safe House Program, which offers safety to children who are running from a bully or away from home. Supervisor Knabe’s goal was to expand the program to create a network of safe places for victims of child sex trafficking to seek out when they were put on the street by their pimp or trafficker. In doing so, the program was renamed the Safe Youth Zone program and the County’s First Responder Protocol for Law Enforcement was implemented to ensure victims who come in seeking help are directed to life changing services and programs. The Safe Youth Zone program will initially encompass all County Fire Stations and Sheriff Stations, before rolling out to facilities countywide. Designated Safe Youth Zones will be identified by a bright yellow placard placed near the entrance to facilities.

Baby Boy Safely Surrendered in Palmdale

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is proud to announce that the County’s Safe Surrender Program celebrated success for the sixth time this year with the report of a safely surrendered newborn baby boy. This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on Wednesday, October 26 at a hospital in Palmdale. As is standard practice, the newborn is in protective custody and will be placed with a family approved for adoption by the Department of Children and Family Services.

“I am grateful to hear that a mother, who found herself in a desperate situation, made the better choice for herself and her baby boy by safely surrendering him at a hospital,” said Supervisor Don Knabe. “Thanks to her courage and bravery, her baby now has a second chance at life and the opportunity to grow up with a loving family. Though we have been able to save the lives of 148 babies so far, we need to continue working to enlighten others that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands and protect them from abandonment.”

This is the sixth Safe Surrender in Los Angeles County in 2016, and the 148th since the program began 15 years ago. The program was initiated by Supervisor Knabe and approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in 2001. It allows someone to surrender an infant that is no more than three days old, as long as the infant shows no signs of abuse.

To learn more about the Safe Surrender Program, visit BabySafeLA.org.

Knabe Statement on Governor Brown Decriminalizing Prostitution for Minors

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe released the following statement regarding Governor Jerry Brown signing multiple bills which protect young child sex trafficking victims from further exploitation, including Senate Bill 1322, which decriminalizes prostitution for minors in the state of California:

“There is no such thing as a child prostitute in the state of California! I am thrilled to hear that Governor Jerry Brown declared enough is enough and decriminalized prostitution and loitering with intent to commit prostitution for minors. This is truly a momentous day for the victims and survivors of this horrific crime, who fall prey to manipulative monsters who sell them for sex night after night. Instead of arresting and stigmatizing young child sex trafficking victims, law enforcement will now play a critical role in helping these girls get the support and treatment they need to escape life on the streets.

“Children don’t need to be arrested in order for us to provide them with the services they need to heal. Our approach in Los Angeles County is working.  In the past two years, we have rescued 131 girls; most of whom have been placed in group homes, foster care or back with their families.

“Thanks to the efforts of Governor Brown, Senator Holly Mitchell, law enforcement, our advocacy groups and local community organizations, we can now offer compassion, help and support to our most vulnerable children, and refocus our efforts to bring justice to those who buy, sell and exploit them.”

KNABE URGES SUPPORT OF CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL 1322 ADVOCATING FOR THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF PROSTITUTION FOR MINORS

nosuchthing

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called on the members of the California Assembly to vote in support of Senate Bill 1322, which comes before them tomorrow.  The Bill, sponsored by State Senator Holly Mitchell and approved by the State Senate, would decriminalize prostitution for minors.  In urging his support, Knabe said:

“There is no such thing as a child prostitute!  The most vulnerable children in our communities are coerced into selling themselves for sex, and are forced to do it through brutal violence and intimidation.  They are not the criminals here and we must treat them like the victims they are!  Our focus should be on bringing to justice those who buy and sell little girls.

“We don’t need to arrest children in order to provide them with the services they need to heal.  Los Angeles County has been at the forefront of developing a protocol with law enforcement, Probation, Children’s Services and community partners to protect the girls and provide them with wraparound services.  

“Our approach is working.  We have rescued 131 girls in the past two years; most of whom have been placed in group homes, foster care or back with their families.  Passing SB 1322 sends a strong message of support to the survivors and to the girls still out there, being raped and assaulted every day.  Make no mistake: when we charge young girls with prostitution, we are calling them prostitutes.  They need our help and our compassion and the tools to move on with their lives; not to be labeled and further traumatized.”

BABY BOY SAFELY SURRENDERED IN SANTA MONICA

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is proud to announce that the County’s Safe Surrender Program celebrated success for the third time this year with the report of a safely surrendered newborn baby boy. This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on Sunday, April 10 at a hospital in Santa Monica. A baby girl was also safely surrendered in Santa Monica on March 14. As is standard practice, the newborn is in protective custody and will be placed with a family approved for adoption by the Department of Children and Family Services.

“I am thrilled to hear that a mother made the better choice and gave her son a second chance at life by safely surrendering him at the hospital,” said Supervisor Knabe. “Thanks to the courage of this mother, a baby boy now has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family. Though we’ve been able to save the lives of 145 babies so far, we need to continue spreading the word that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands—at any fire station or hospital, any time—and protect them from abandonment—No Shame. No Blame. No Names.”

This is the third Safe Surrender in Los Angeles County in 2016, and the 145th since the program began 15 years ago. The program was initiated by Supervisor Knabe and approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in 2001. It allows someone to surrender an infant that is no more than three days old, as long as the infant shows no signs of abuse.

To learn more about the Safe Surrender Program, visit BabySafeLA.org.

Second Newborn Safely Surrendered in March

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is proud to announce that the County’s Safe Surrender Program celebrated success for the second time this month with the report of a safely surrendered newborn baby girl. This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on Monday, March 14 at a hospital in Santa Monica. A baby girl was also safely surrendered at a hospital in Los Angeles on March 7. As is standard practice, the newborn is in protective custody and will be placed with a family approved for adoption by the Department of Children and Family Services.

“I am thrilled that in the span of a week, two mothers made the better choice and gave their daughters a second chance at life by safely surrendering them at the hospital,” said Supervisor Knabe. “Thanks to the courage of these mothers, both girls now have the opportunity to grow up in a loving family.”

Despite the recent successes of the Safe Surrender program, some mothers who find themselves alone and in a desperate situation, feel like they have no options. This week, a mother who abandoned her baby near a Compton riverbed last November, was sentenced to 14 years in state prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder.

“The abandonment in Compton was a near tragedy that could have been completely avoided had the mother known she could safely surrender her baby,” said Supervisor Knabe. “It’s unconscionable to think that this mother had no one to turn to for help or guidance. These mothers often get pregnant in secret, hide their secret, and try to throw their secret away. Though we’ve been able to save the lives of 144 babies so far, we need to continue spreading the word that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands—at any fire station or hospital, any time—and protect them from abandonment—No Shame. No Blame. No Names.”

This is the second Safe Surrender in Los Angeles County in 2016, and the 144th since the program began 15 years ago. The program was initiated by Supervisor Knabe and approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in 2001. It allows someone to surrender an infant that is no more than three days old, as long as the infant shows no signs of abuse.

     To learn more about the Safe Surrender Program, visit BabySafeLA.org.

L.A. County to Establish Safe Zones for Victims of Child Sex Trafficking

Los Angeles County will move forward with renaming and rebranding the County’s Safe House Program to create a network of safe harbors for victims of child sex trafficking to seek out when they are in danger, thanks to a motion by Supervisor Don Knabe that was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors earlier today.

The Safe House Program, originally launched in 1997 by Supervisor Knabe, provides a temporary haven for any child or adult facing a potentially threatening situation and needing a place to go. The program currently includes all Los Angeles County Fire Stations. This motion will expand the Safe House Program to include victims of child sex trafficking and establish more County facilities as safe places for youth to seek out for protection.

“When we launched the Safe House Program nearly 20 years ago, we had no idea our children would need protection from monsters looking to sexually exploit them for money,” said Supervisor Knabe. “These kids are threatened with brutal abuse and violence against themselves and their families if they attempt to escape or do not make their quota. Often times, these children have no place to go for help and end up going back to their pimp and trafficker where they are subjected to more abuse and exploitation. Instead of waiting to be rescued by law enforcement, victims of child sex trafficking will be able to proactively seek out a safe place to hide from their pimp or trafficker and be connected with life-saving wrap-around services that will empower them to escape life on the streets and seek a better and brighter future.”

Following today’s unanimous approval, the Los Angeles County Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Integrated Leadership Team will engage with various County departments and report back to the Board in 60 days on:

*Renaming and rebranding the Safe House Program as the Los Angeles County Safe Youth Zone Program.

*Developing a protocol for when victims of child sex trafficking seek help at a designated Safe Youth Zone.

*An implementation plan that includes strategies to engage County departments and other public safety agencies, train appropriate employees and outreach to the public to educate them about the program.

*A funding plan for implementation, training and other necessary resources.

More Than A Survivor: More Than A Story Photo exhibition Celebration of nationally distinguished survivors of human trafficking

The More Than A Survivor: More Than A Story photo exhibition will premiere at the Museum of Latin American Art today.  This event is a fundraiser to support victims and survivors of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking served by the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Journey Out.  Nationally recognized survivor leaders Nola Brantley, Jessica Midkiff and Stacy Jewell Lewis, who are celebrated in the exhibit, will be present at the reception along with Los Angeles County anti-trafficking leaders.

This extraordinary photo exhibition celebrates the diversity, strength and leadership of human trafficking survivors and their triumph over the most extreme of human rights abuses.  The exhibit features 22 stunning portraits and highlights the accomplishments of prominent survivor leaders in various fields from the arts to politics, science, social services and more.

When:  TODAY, April 14, 2016; 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Where:  Museum of Latin American Art

Speakers:

  • Nola Brantley, Nola Brantley Speaks! (survivor leader)
  • Jessica Midkiff, Nola Brantley Speaks! (survivor leader)
  • Stacy Jewell Lewis, Who is Stolen & Jewell Productions (survivor leader)
  • Stephany Powell, Journey Out
  • Gina Loring, poet
  • Nick Ippolito, Office of Supervisor Don Knabe

Contact: 

Cheryl Burnett, Supervisor Don Knabe, 213-974-1095

Statement on Metro’s Release of “Measure R2 Tax” Project List

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe issued the following statement, after Metro’s release of a project list for a proposed tax measure to go before voters on the November ballot to fund transit projects:

“The R2 project list must first and foremost ensure geographic equity across our region; there are 88 cities in Los Angeles County, not just one.  Taxpayers across the County will be asked to pay an additional half-cent sales tax and in return, they should all see benefits.   Promises were made to taxpayers eight years ago when voters approved Measure R.  Now, some of those commitments are being pushed down the road.  We must not allow high-profile projects to leapfrog rail and highway improvements that can be made in all areas of the County.

Fixing congested areas across the County is not just about rail, we must have multi-modal solutions including better bus service, road improvements and more bike lanes.  Metro’s highway program, for example, can have a huge effect on the quality-of-life in communities, often for less budget and less time.  With over 40 percent of the nation’s imports coming through our two ports, we must make infrastructure improvements to better move goods, which provide a big economic boost to our region.  As the Metro Board analyzes this proposal, we must consider geographic equity and balance as top priorities.  I look forward to delving into the details of this proposed program and for us to receive community input from across Los Angeles County.”