National municipal police said they arrested more than two dozen men in the area in February and continue to organize injection operations.
NATIONAL CITY, Calif .– Defenders are sounding the alarm bells over a section of National City that continues to be a hot spot for human trafficking and prostitution. National municipal police say they arrested more than two dozen men there in February and continue to set up injection operations.
News 8’s LaMonica Peters spoke to Mayor of the national city and an advocacy group on what is being done to tackle the problem.
A young woman was stabbed and set on fire at the Rodeway Inn in December. Police made an arrest and she survived, but advocates say crime and sex trafficking in this area will not go away.
Marisa Ugarte said she has been helping young women escape the cycle of prostitution and human trafficking for decades. She founded the Bilateral Security Corridor Coalition, in close collaboration with the national municipal police. She said the most important factor in this fight is pretty obvious.
“The biggest problem, if you will allow me to say it, is not the hotel. It’s the demand because they’re the ones buying the hotel, they’re the ones buying the girl, ”Ugarte said.
The national municipal police are part of the Human Trafficking Working Group monitored by the State Department of Justice. The task force said it arrested 31 men in February for solicitation. The national city mayor also said the city has started redeveloping Roosevelt Street to help improve the area.
“We are narrowing the street so that the traffic is slower. On the one hand, we have more landscaping, more walkability so that the inhabitants of this district can really walk in their district ”, declared the mayor of the national city, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis.
Sotelo-Solis said the project is expected to be completed within the next 6-9 months. She also said large drill trucks are no longer allowed to park alongside Roosevelt, inadvertently creating cover for criminal activity.
Ugarte said that in the meantime she remained focused on helping young girls and women.
“Most of them are afraid of what might happen to them or their families or the education and information that we can provide them,” Ugarte said.
The mayor said the city, police and advocates should continue to work together to rid the area of human trafficking.
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