BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors are insidious crimes that require the attention of entire communities. Every child is susceptible – all ages, boys and girls –  but some are more vulnerable than others.

These children, according to information 17 News gleaned from the Kern County Department of Human Services, the sheriff’s office and the Bakersfield Police Department, are more likely than others to be victimized:

  • Teens in group homes
  • Foster home residents
  • Runaways
  • Homeless teens

The exploiters – pimps – can adopt any number of personas:

  • A nice guy pretending to care
  • Someone promising easy money
  • A “photographer” offering a modeling job
  • A new boyfriend who pays for nails, hair and cell phones
  • A “sugar daddy” who buys expensive gifts
  • Someone offering travel to other cities
  • A teen friend who wants to introduce you to someone

Once the connection is made, it can be hard to break free. Call 911 or text 233733 if you or someone you know:

  • Is being controlled by threats
  • Fears for her safety or that of loved ones
  • Exhibits bruises or other signs of abuse
  • Is being deprived of food or medical care
  • Does not hold her own ID or other documents
  • Suffers from anxiety, depression or fear
  • Expresses suicidal thoughts

What else can you do? Donate or reach out to:

  • Child Abuse Hotline: 661-631-6011
  • National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888
  • Global Family Care Network/The Daughter Project: 661-213-3380 or
  • Magdalene Hope prostitution recovery program: 661-808-HOPE