H.E.A.T.Watch – Stop Human Exploitation and Trafficking

Alameda County H.E.A.T. Watch Tip Line: 1-510-208-4959.
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Innovative Charging of CSEC Cases and Vigorous Prosecution of Offenders

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley formed the H.E.A.T. Unit in 2005, prior to the passage of Penal Code Section 236.1, California’s Human Trafficking Statute. The H.E.A.T. Unit also prosecutes traffickers under traditional laws:

  • pimping and pandering
  • sexual assault
  • kidnapping
  • burglary

In some instances these carry a life sentence. Traffickers include:

  • those who solicit children under the age of 14 for sex
  • those who lure children into the commercial sex trade
  • enforcers, who act as security guards and conspire to exploit victims for financial gain

The following statistics reflect H.E.A.T. Unit results from January 2006, the effective date of section 236.1, through March 2015.1

A key component of H.E.A.T. Watch prosecution efforts is recognizing that children who are exploited and trafficked are victims of child abuse, not criminals. Referring to these children as commercially sexually exploited youth, as opposed to prostitutes, acknowledges their victimization and shifts responsibility where it rightfully belongs – to the traffickers who facilitate and engage in sex with children.

“For [a decade] we have been fighting to shatter the perception of children as prostitutes and criminals undeserving of protection. These young people are victims of child abuse. We are committed to continue our ongoing efforts to educate the community, prosecute the offenders, and rescue these girls,” says DA O’Malley.