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Regional leaders gather in Los Angeles to address human trafficking in California

File photo: Human trafficking is a global issue, as evidenced by this recent protest in London.
File photo: Human trafficking is a global issue, as evidenced by this recent protest in London.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Statewide officials are in Los Angeles Friday to discuss efforts to combat and eradicate human trafficking in California. The event at the YWCA Greater Los Angeles at the Museum of Tolerance will also focus on best practices that can be implemented locally to address the crime, which generates an estimated $32 billion annually to global criminal enterprises. 

YWCA spokeswoman Cynthia Heard told the Associated Press that the groundbreaking event would highlight the challenges and best practices for combating human trafficking statewide.

The event features officials and lawmakers from Los Angeles, San Diego and Alameda counties, the AP reported.

Law enforcement is beginning to change tactics in combating human trafficking. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced in February a new program that would provide counseling and other services to help vulnerable teens from being exposed and lured into trafficking.

The purpose of the program was to treat minors arrested for sex-related crimes as "victims, not criminals."

Officials are also looking to increase ties with foreign countries. California Attorney General Kamala Harris led a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico in April to strengthen working relationships between the governments of both countries. The goal is to enhance efforts to combat transnational crime, including human trafficking.

RELATED: Human trafficking survivor Ima Matul to speak in Culver City Tuesday


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