Hayward Police Hold Meeting as Part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

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The Hayward Police Department held a public meeting Wednesday to teach residents how to keep their children safe as part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

The Bay Area is a major entry point for exploited people coming into the U.S. from Asia and Latin America and it’s a major activity area for victims coming from other parts of the country, police said.

“It's so easy to communicate with them now [kids], rather than hanging out at the mall, which was what was going on 25 to 20 years ago, even 10 years ago,” said Ryan Cantrell from the Hayward Police Department. “All they have to do is a search on the internet to find out what kids are in a low point in their life.”

Alan Franke from the Hayward Neighborhood Awareness Group said that they helped stopped two human trafficking events in the last few years.

“I personally have vested interest in this,” he said.

Franke works for an airline and he said his crew spotted the unusual situations on international flights. The Hayward police officer leading the group said law enforcement agencies are starting to hold special trainings for other professional groups - like package delivery workers, or PG&E crews, on how to spot warning signs of possible human trafficking victims in certain settings.

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