Moreno Valley, CA

Raising Awareness to Human Trafficking in Moreno Valley

Debra Blackwell
Human Trafficking in Moreno ValleyPhoto byGoogle Images

According to a press release by the Riverside County Sheriff's office, 31 people throughout Riverside County were taken into custody for solicitation of prostitution, prostitution, and pandering. Moreno Valley had the most significant number of arrests out of several cities. In January 2023, multiple agencies participated in “Reclaim & Rebuild” a program that focuses on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, identifying, and arresting captors, and disrupting the demand for potential victims. Within the press release on the Riverside County Sheriff's website, seven of those arrested for participating in human trafficking operations were from Moreno Valley, which is very concerning for residents within the city. Murrieta, Riverside, Perris, Chino, Claremont, Colton, San Jacinto, Hemet, San Dimas, San Bernardino, Banning, Rancho Cucamonga, Wildomar, Menifee, Temecula, and Lake Elsinore were amongst the cities where arrests were made in this phenomenal effort to lessen these heinous criminal operations.

In Moreno Valley alone, the following were arrested during the sweep:

Samuel Gorden, age 62

Mofeed Ismail, age 38

Javier Avila, age 26

Terrion Engram, age 37

Kevin Grannis, age 39

Jose Molina, age 36

Reijiro Brown, age 49

The Riverside County Sheriff's website only lists arrests and no further information on additional proceeding within the criminal justice system for all taken into custody; for a list of the arrests and additional information on the operation visit Press Releases Riverside County Sheriff, CA CivicEngage

Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was formed in 2010 and continues to address crimes involving the exploitation of victims through force, fraud, or coercion. According to the site, these crimes often involve the sex trafficking of children, forced labor, and indentured servitude, a form of labor where an individual is under contract to work without a salary to repay a debt, a tactic used in human trafficking operations. Debt bondage carries much of the exact definition; however, the victim is paid a minimal wage, and the trafficker continues to add expenses such as shelter and food, resulting in the victim being held in bondage, unable to pay off whatever debt the captor has deemed. Additionally, the task force works to reduce future demand for sex trafficking as they work to identify and arrest sex buyers and rescue those forced into this $150 Billion-a-year global industry considered a form of modern-day slavery that profits from the exploitation of the most vulnerable.

As Human Trafficking strips victims of their freedom and fundamental human rights. A common misperception is that this crime must involve crossing borders. However, it commonly occurs within a single country, controlling a person through force, fear, and coercion to exploit the victims for forced labor, sexual exploitation, and in most cases, both. The International Labor Organization estimates more than 24.9 victims are suffering worldwide at any time. Often young girls and boys and women make up 57.6% of forced labor victims, and 99.4% become victims of sex trafficking. As a result, this has become one of the Attorney General’s top priorities to address this ever-growing criminal industry and provide immense resources to its victims, as does the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Globally as well as locally, Human Trafficking is growing in droves. Since Moreno Valley, CA, had the most significant number of arrests during this latest operation, residents should be made aware. Recognizing signs and red flags are key. Traffickers are not distinct in appearance, sexual orientation, race, gender, or personality. They most commonly prey on the vulnerable such as those in unstable situations, innocent children, runaways, and people in economic need. However, these predators not only target the above but are always on the prowl for any person who may have no means of escape, no matter their situation. Victims are in high demand, and red flags are a must-know. Predators often use stories, such as stories of ever-lasting love, whether online or in person, promises of something enticing, or intimidation words, instilling fear; there is no specific length these criminals will go to use their stories and tactics as weapons. Most never think twice about Human Traffickers, so raising awareness is of the utmost importance. As a community, realizing the largest number of arrests came out of Moreno Valley, raising awareness should become a top priority.

Thanking the Riverside County Sheriff's Department for lessening these operations is a given. However, we can all assist them by gaining knowledge of Human Trafficking, whether it be the predator or a victim.

If you know of anyone who may be a victim of Human Trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at (888) 373-7888 or contact your local law enforcement department immediately.

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Debra Blackwell has been writing content for over 20 years. Breaking news, news that impacts our country, such as social injustice, operations that impact incarcerated individuals, homelessness, and relevant local news her most passionate interests.

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