In 2016, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of the Human Trafficking Program. The Program is funded by Measure K, a countywide half-cent sales tax extension passed by local voters in November 2016 to support essential County services and to maintain or replace critical facilities. The Program is administered by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
The Human Trafficking Program Coordinator is John Vanek. John retired from the San Jose Police Department in the rank of Lieutenant in 2011, where he managed their Human Trafficking Task Force. John is a nationally-recognized authority on the collaborative response to human trafficking.
The Human Trafficking Advocacy Coordinator is Pamela Estes. Pamela is an attorney, and the founder of Before Our Very Eyes, a human trafficking awareness display that has appeared at the County Government Center and the San Mateo County Fair.
Since January 2018, John and Pamela have worked together to establish collaborative partnerships among County agencies, law enforcement agencies within the County, and non-governmental organizations in our anti-trafficking efforts. John and Pamela are responsible for Program design and implementation, along with a variety of efforts to enhance services to victims of trafficking, increase investigation and prosecution of human trafficking incidents, raise awareness of human trafficking within the community, and foster greater collaborative efforts among all who fight modern-day slavery.
In May 2018 the Human Trafficking Program County Assessment was completed. The Assessment examined the current state of the response to trafficking in the County, examining law enforcement identification of trafficking, victims identified and served, and the wide variety of anti-trafficking efforts and organizations within the County. The Assessment also provided verifiable data upon which the Program could base future efforts.
In February 2018 the Program initiated the Human Trafficking Initiative, a monthly public meeting for anyone interested in the response to human trafficking, especially in San Mateo County. Held the second Tuesday of each month (except December) from 12:30 – 2:00, Initiative meetings typically include an update on anti-trafficking efforts, educational presentations, and the chance to network with others involved in the fight against human trafficking. Meeting location and details are posted in our Calendar, and if you subscribe (on the homepage) you will receive announcements on future meetings and other items of interest.