February 6, 2023
James Bolden Jamesbolden@dpss.lacounty.gov
DPSS OFFICES ARE COUNTYWIDE SAFE YOUTH ZONES
Joining other California counties in the observance of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the L.A. County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has designated 43 of its district offices as temporary safe spaces for at-risk youth as part of an expanded Countywide Safe Youth Zone (SYZ) Initiative.
On-site SYZ Liaisons, trained to assist youth that appear to be in need of assistance, will also determine if law enforcement or medical care are needed.
One in five homeless youth in California have reportedly experienced some form of trafficking; 14 percent have experienced sex trafficking, eight percent have experienced labor trafficking, and approximately three percent have experienced a combination of both.
In June this year, the Board of Supervisors directed the SYZ Initiative, initially launched in 2016 at selected L.A. County Fire, Sheriffs, and Long Beach Police stations, to include DPSS and several other County departments serving at-risk youth.
The goal of the initiative is to increase the network of safe spaces for victims of child sex trafficking. In addition to DPSS, the initiative has added the Departments of Children Family Services, Probation, Mental Health, Health Services, and Public Health. If you suspect a child is being victimized, call 911 or the L.A. County Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-540-4000. Visit the DPSS website for a list of district offices.