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After victim testimony, police panel calls on City Council to bolster LAPD anti-trafficking work

The Police Commission is taking a stand against the effects of budget cuts on LAPD anti-trafficking programs.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times
by Kevin Rector, Staff Writer
January 26, 2021

[SNIPPET FROM ARTICLE] READ FULL ARTICLE

… Oree Freeman said she was pushed into sex work at age 11 in South-Central L.A., raped seven to 15 times a night and struggled for years to break free before connecting with mentors in the police department who helped her get out.

“It’s a very hard journey to not just survive in the life but … to get back on your feet and keep going,” she said.

She praised the department for shifting its focus away from thinking of teenage sex workers as “prostitutes” to defending them as “victims and survivors” and said work by highly trained officers in the LAPD’s anti-trafficking task forces to get to know kids caught up in trafficking — and eventually get them out — must be protected.

Jasmine Edwards, a case manager with the organization Saving Innocence, said she has had “countless interactions with LAPD in rescuing children” in recent years and sees those officers as “the ignition point” for connecting children in the sex trade with other resources in the area that can help them chart a new course.

“Law enforcement plays a pivotal role in the rescue and recovery of our children,” she said. …

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