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Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 - 109 days ago Last Blog on Earth | News

Fighting human trafficking in secret

County advisory council has never followed open-government law

By Joshua Emerson Smith
diannejacob Dianne Jacob

One of San Diego County’s most touted advisory groups has failed to follow state open-meeting laws.

Since its inception in June 2011, the San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking and CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) Advisory Council hasn't posted agendas or made its meetings known to the public,
Steve Schmidt, spokesperson for county Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office, confirmed Tuesday. No information about the advisory council’s meetings can be found on the county’s website; nor is any information listed on the "Committee Fact Sheets" web page.

"The county counsel's office is working with the advisory council on notice and meeting procedures," Schmidt said in an email. "I'm told that something should be in place starting next week. In the meantime, the council is not meeting."

Last September, CityBeat reached out to the advisory committee in a failed attempt to attend meetings for a story on prostitution and human trafficking. In response to a Sept. 5 email, the group’s coordinator, Carina Hinton, wrote:

"The chairs have the ultimate say in who attends the meetings, and can speak with you on behalf of the Advisory Council in an official capacity."

Shortly after, Lt. Art Wager with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, who formerly sat on the advisory council, followed up with CityBeat, acknowledging that the meetings were public. However, he didn't say when and where the meetings were held and discouraged attendance.

Recently, CityBeat followed up on the issue and found the meeting agendas unavailable.

The county Board of Supervisors established the advisory council with major support from Supervisor Jacob, as well as Sheriff Bill Gore and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. The group was to report to a law enforcement steering committee.

According to the most recent information available, the chair of the council is Jenee Littrell, an assistant principal at Chaparral High School. Littrell is a nationally recognized figure in the prevention of human trafficking of minors.

Also on the council are Lt. Wager, Susan Munsey of
victim-services provider Generate Hope, Point Loma Nazarene University professor Jamie Gates and University of San Diego researcher Ami Carpenter.

Comment? Question? Write to joshuas@sdcitybeat.com.

 
 
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