Riverside County’s annual four-day Human Trafficking Conference is underway, featuring an array of speakers, all of whom are scheduled to appear via a virtual platform available to the public.
The conference will continue until Thursday, focusing on how drug abuse, difficulties at home and other factors lure children onto the street, into sex trafficking and other perils, according to the county Department of Public Social Services, which is organizing and hosting the event.
Scheduled speakers include Dr. Katarina Rosenblatt, author of “Stolen,” highlighting her experiences as a 13-year-old runaway who became part of a prostitution ring from which she narrowly escaped with her life; Opal Singleton, president of Million Kids; and Norma Vazquez, director of anti-human trafficking programs for Operation SafeHouse.
“It is a challenge to get people to collaborate, to become aware,” Rosenblatt said. “But most tips come from the general public. If you see something, please say something, because you could be the one to make a difference.”
One of the conference’s top topics will be how social media can be a feeding trough for predators, and what parents, guardians and others can do to prevent children from falling prey to exploitative schemes.
The conference coincides with National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Anyone can sign up to attend virtually, for free, via www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-csec-virtual-conference-tickets-128559373547.