An anti- human trafficking billboard in San Diego. Photo courtesy San Diego County District Attorney’s office

State funding has been secured to bolster San Diego’s efforts to address human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The $600,000, allocated during annual budget negotiations in the state Assembly, will support the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force.

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, D-San Diego, on Wednesday joined Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit to announce the funding.

“This is complex, painstaking, life-saving investigative work,” Gloria said in a news release, “and the additional resources secured by Assembly member Maienschein will help us do more of it.”

The San Diego Police Department is a member of the local Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Through investigations, undercover operations and collaboration with local, state and federal partners, our teams have already helped so many survivors. This funding strengthens our commitment and ability to safeguard lives and hold human traffickers accountable,” Nisleit said.

Maienschein pointed to SDPD efforts, such as Operation Better Pathways, explaining that he’s “certain this added funding will continue that mission of rescuing people trapped in these circumstances as well as punish those responsible for trafficking others.”

– Staff and wire reports