Upcoming forum to discuss human trafficking

Richmond residents are invited to learn about human trafficking at a community forum at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Upcoming forum to discuss human trafficking
Richmond police and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office hosted a similar community forum in 2018. 

Richmond residents are invited to learn about human trafficking at a community forum at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Richmond Police Chief Bisa French, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, and community leaders will highlight local efforts to combat human traffic and support survivors.

Human Trafficking Task Force Director Katrina Natale said the forum attempts to raise awareness for all forms of human trafficking, including sex and labor trafficking of adults and minors affecting the Richmond community.

“The organizers intend this event to be a jumping-off point for further engagement with the community going forward—particularly as a starting point for reinvigorating pre-pandemic efforts in this area,” Natale said.

Participants are also encouraged to share their concerns and provide input on how governmental and non-governmental agencies can better engage the community on the issue of human trafficking in Richmond.

North and East resident Linda McKee encouraged residents to attend the forum and said a woman murdered near her home drove her to learn more about the city’s efforts to stop human trafficking.

Police block off traffic at Esmond ave and 24th Street on June 5, 2022, during a murder investigation.

“I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, and the problem has become progressively worse,” McKee wrote on a neighborhood message board.

McKee said it hit a peak last June when she woke up on a Sunday morning to find the street blocked off and police investigating the death of a woman.

According to reports, the woman was picked up to perform sex work and stabbed after a misunderstanding concerning money.

Woman found dead in Richmond identified
Police said they believe the body wound up in its location between 5 a.m. and 7:15 a.m.

McKee’s security cameras caught the audio of Green’s stabbing and video of her crying for help before she died in the gutter in the early morning.

After the murder, McKee said her compassion towards people who are trafficked grew immensely, and her anger towards the issues caused by it has been redirected towards pimps, family members, and society that groom people to be trafficked.

McKee sought information about human trafficking by contacting the Contra Costa County Family Justice Center to learn about their programs to address this issue. The center offers services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, and elder abuse.

“We need people to come out and voice their opinions, learn about this very complicated issue that human trafficking poses to the city and learn what the Richmond Police Department and other partners are doing to address these issues,” McKee said.

The Human Trafficking Community Forum will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall at 968 23rd St. Richmond. Forum organizers will provide Spanish language interpretation.

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