Rotary Club of Coronado returned from a holiday hiatus on January 4, welcoming parttime resident, Dr. Wendy Patrick, a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego as its featured speaker. Dr. Patrick astounded the group with a riveting presentation about sex trafficking in our region. Having tried some of the most heinous and disturbing crimes coming before the San Diego Superior Court system, Dr. Patrick is an expert in the human trafficking epidemic in our region.
San Diego consistently ranks among the top 10 cities in the country for human trafficking, in part due to its close proximity to the border and lucrative nature of this clandestine business. In fact, trafficking generates more than $810 million annually for the underground economy in our region which is second only to the drug trade. Worse yet, the numbers are staggering with more than 10,000 human trafficking victims or survivors in the county.
According to Dr. Patrick, traffickers are typically surreptitious in the community, often presenting themselves as socially savvy, with a stylish and seductive lifestyle, and lavishly giving gifts to their prey. Some are even a parents’ worst nightmare. They lure their victim into a romantic relationship while appearing as a doting boyfriend, then coerce their companion into commercial sex acts. This can include anything from prostitution to taking illicit photos of the innocent victim to post online or sell to websites for their own personal gain.
Dr. Patrick cautions that sex trafficking is likely occurring in our own backyards, and that typically upper income neighborhoods secretly harbor both victims and patrons. According to the Polaris Project, that works to reshape the systems that allow for sex and labor trafficking in North America, “Trafficking is a dynamic crime that will morph to fit the circumstances. That makes it even more difficult to reduce trafficking through law enforcement alone and argues for strategies that are based on prevention rather than response.”
Rotary Club of Coronado takes this problem very seriously, with club members devoting countless hours to volunteering at a local safe house intended to transition victims back into successful and fulfilling lifestyles. It is among the myriad issues, causes, and problems prioritized by Coronado Rotary, whose motto is “Service Above Self” and mission is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.
Convening every Wednesday for a luncheon at noon, followed by a meeting and an insightful, informative, and captivating presentation by a speaker, Coronado Rotary boasts more than 250 members. To learn more about Rotary Club of Coronado or inquire about membership visit: https://www.coronadorotary.org/.