Posted by Steven Weitzen
Human Trafficking - sex trafficking - is an ancient/modern scourge that must be eradicated.  And, our District will lead the way.
Too many young people are caught up in this gruesome net and we must do something about it.  I am very passionate about human trafficking (specifically sex-trafficking) and this passion will guide me and the District over this Rotary year and beyond. Let me explain where this passion comes from so you will understand.

The average age of entry into the “life” or “game” is 16-years old. That means there has to be a good number of younger kids to make that average age.

The average life expectancy of one who is sex trafficked is seven years. Again, the average life expectancy of one who is sex trafficked is seven years. These kids overdose on drugs, commit suicide or are killed by their exploiter. It shakes me to my core.

Human beings were not created to be treated in this manner, with little hope of a future.  Sex trafficking is not like in the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson where his daughter was physically kidnaped. Today, sex trafficking is done over the internet. Exploiters troll the chat rooms finding impressionable teenagers who are lured to parties with compliments about their looks and promises of love.

These kids are offered protection and financial security.  Did you know that 100,000 girls and boys are trafficked daily in the United States?  This is unimaginable.

We in Rotary must eradicate this evil just like we are eradicating polio.

Last year, I met with our Rotarian of the Year and Past President of Club 33, David Oates and Past President of the Downtown Breakfast Club, Tom Fitch. Knowing their interest and passion to combat human trafficking, I asked them to co-chair our newly founded Anti-Human Trafficking Committee. They both eagerly agreed and set about to add 10 committee members from across the District. Each of these members share our passion as well.

These members are: Beverly Liberman and Venky Venkatesh, Del Mar/Solana Beach Rotary Club; Michael Bardin and Kim Schaefer, Golden Triangle; Marc Rodriguez, Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club; Bonnie Welch and Dani Womack, La Mesa Rotary Club; Ned Silver and Anthony Llompart of Club 33. These committee members have worked tirelessly to bring about a plan and program that we, as Rotarians and clubs, can rally around to be a part of the solution.

We submitted a Global Grant (GG2464) that is currently in excess of $80,000. This grant creates an advertising campaign that will, among other things, provide signage at airports, train stations, bus stations and schools warning of sex trafficking.

The balance of the grant will be allocated to teacher training. More often than not, teachers are the last line of defense when it comes to detecting a student who is being trafficked. Training the teachers to identify the signs of a student who is being trafficked will lead the teacher to subsequently report the prospect of a crime to the legal authorities, which hopefully will then save that child’s life.  After all, if we save the life of one child, it is as if we saved the world.

As we begin to roll out the program, I will keep you posted as to our progress. Please feel free to ping me at with your comments and ideas.
See you next Monday.