A group pledging to save one child at a time from the sex trade is bringing information about its ongoing efforts to disrupt human sex trafficking to the Santa Clarita Valley.
Under federal law, anyone engaging in commercial sex acts who is under the age of 18 years old is legally a victim of child sex trafficking.
Saving Innocence is a group which, according to its mission statement posted online, rescues child victims of sex trafficking 24 hours a day – 7 days a week.
“Using a highly relational and collaborative approach, we give children on-the-ground help exclusively in the U.S. by utilizing strategic partnerships with law enforcement, social service providers and schools, while mobilizing communities to prevent abuse and increase neighborhood safety,” the group statement reads.
What it means is that every time cops arrest people trying to arrange having sex with kids and find a child victim of human trafficking, Saving Innocence sends two adults to the scene to help that child.
SCV resident Pat Moller, who made it his mission to devote 10 to 15 hours of his retiree time to helping fight human trafficking, is promoting the group’s latest awareness campaign.
Whenever human trafficking cops rescue a child from the sex trade then two adults – one from Saving Innocence and one from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services attends to the rescued child, Moller said.
Anyone interested in learning more about how they can help stop human trafficking is urged to attend a meeting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 27710 The Old Road.
“I am hosting the awareness building event for Saving innocence,” Moller told The Signal Tuesday.
“In addition to raising awareness to the issue of child sex trafficking here in Los Angeles, we’ll briefly provide ways for folks to get involved either financially or non financially should they be interested,” he said.
“Yes, I am passionate about it, and yes, it must stop,” Moller said. “To stop it, takes more than a few people — it takes awareness, and then eventually an army.”
A news release sent out by Moller Tuesday, reads: “If child sex trafficking of girls is important to you, Saving Innocence will present information on their successful efforts in Los Angeles County and their future plans and needs.”
Deputies assigned specifically to curb human trafficking have made several recent arrests in the SCV to disrupt the sex trade.
The arrest in mid-October, of two men in the SCV accused of arranging to have sex with a child, was part of a massive nationwide operation by law enforcement to stop sex trafficking, rescue sexually exploited kids and arrest their abusers, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the FBI.
Operation Cross Country, the FBI’s annual law enforcement action focused on recovering underage victims of prostitution and drawing the public’s attention to the problem of sex trafficking at home and abroad, wrapped up in October with the recovery of 84 sexually exploited juveniles and the arrests of 120 traffickers.
Operation Cross Country was the third sting operation carried out in the SCV in the last eight months.
The October arrests bring to 10 the number of men arrested in the SCV for arranging to meet a minor for sex since March.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt