The Santa Clara Police Department shut down an “illicit” massage business and rescued four human trafficking survivors earlier this month.
On Jan. 20, police officers worked with the Law Enforcement Investigating Human Trafficking (LEIHT) Task Force and served a search warrant at Traditional Chinese Medicine near the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Benton Street.
“A concerned citizen recently reported suspicious activity at the location,” SCPD Lt. Cuong Phan said. “SCPD Community Response Team officers conducted an investigation and confirmed illicit activity took place at the business.”
SCPD says the business had operated in Santa Clara since at least 2020. The business was shut down and four people were connected to survivor advocates.
“The Law Enforcement Investigating Human Trafficking Task Force partners with survivor advocates to educate survivors on the dangers of human trafficking and provide short-term and long-term resources,” said Phan.
Resources can include a new phone, a safe location to stay and help on a path toward a new and safer life.
How to Identify Signs of Human Trafficking
January was National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The Department of Homeland Security says there are key indicators to look for when identifying human trafficking including:
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
- Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
- Is the person disoriented or confused or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is the person fearful, timid or submissive?
- Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep or medical care?
- Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation?
- Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
- Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
- Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
- Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
The Department of Homeland Security warns that not all human trafficking situations are the same and the presence of indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
If you believe you know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, contact National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888)-373-7888. You can also call 9-1-1 in an emergency.