The Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division is comprised of a highly-trained and specialized team of Deputy District Attorneys, District Attorney Investigators, paralegals and secretaries who are all dedicated to aggressive and just prosecution of perpetrators of sexual assault and human trafficking crimes. Guided by Division Chief John Rice and Assistant Chief Patrick Espinoza Jr., the division strives to treat the victims of sexual assaults with compassion, dignity, and respect.
Attorneys and staff in this division handled a number of significant cases including prosecutions for sexually motivated homicide, sexual assaults by strangers, acquaintances or family members, lewd acts with children, non-domestic violence stalking, human trafficking, pimping, pandering, failing to properly register as sexual offenders, indecent exposure and civil commitments of sexually-violent predators.
Human trafficking prosecutions are on the rise, primarily in conjunction with pimping and pandering charges. Felons intent on profiting from this illicit business seduce vulnerable young women and minors into prostitution throughout the county. The division not only prosecutes offenders, but it works with law enforcement and community-based organizations, which try to rehabilitate victims and re-integrate them back into society. The division has one Deputy District Attorney and two District Attorney Investigators assigned full-time to the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, a multi-agency organization which seeks to disrupt and dismantle human trafficking in the county through a comprehensive, collaborative and regional response.
The division is committed to protecting the community from sexually-violent predators through the pursuit of civil commitment petitions resulting in hospitalization and treatment of those offenders found to be a substantial danger to the public. The division works to keep the public safe and informed as sexually-violent predators reach the community treatment phase through community notification and public meetings.
The Ugly Truth
The District Attorney’s Office launched a public outreach campaign highlighting the myths surrounding human trafficking with a series of ads, billboards and radio spots. “The Ugly Truth” campaign grew out of a simple belief: that until the public understands the truth about the conditions that drive women and girls into the sex trade – and the violence prostituted persons are likely to encounter while working in it – we will lack the community consensus or public will that can lead to change. The goal aimed at changing minds, hearts and public policies on commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking in San Diego County.