Human trafficking illustration
Photo courtesy Hadassah

San Diego County District Atty. Summer Stephan and other experts on human trafficking will speak at a free public forum Tuesday about the challenges and possible solutions to this growing crime.

The event from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 22 at Congregation Beth Israel in University City is sponsored by Hadassah and the synagogue’s social action committee.

“Once you understand how deep and how wide this problem is in present day society, it is shocking and heart-breaking,” said Audrey Levine, president of the San Diego chapter of Hadassah, a Jewish women’s group. “We felt compelled to address the issue and raise awareness for this systemic problem.”

Event organizers said that in the San Diego area alone, human trafficking is an $800 million industry with at least 8,000 victims annually.

“We are our brother’s keeper, our sister’s keeper,” noted Rabbi Alyson Solomon of Beth Israel. “By understanding the different aspects of human trafficking, we can do a better job to stop it. I hope everyone who hears about this program will attend.”

Speakers in addition to Stephan will be Bianca Morales-Egan of Project Concern International, Ashlie Bryant from 3Strands Global, Jamie Gates from Point Loma Nazarene University, and a trafficking survivor. The presentations will  be followed by a question and answer session.

Attendees are asked to RSVP by May 20 by registering online.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.