The City of Long Beach will partner with the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and the Long Beach Human Trafficking Task Force (LBHTTF) to host a Youth Exploitation Safety Symposium (YESS), featuring a series of presentations and workshops for parents, educators, and youth in grades eight through 12, the city announced Friday. The free event is scheduled for Saturday, February 20, 2016, at 10:00AM (registration starts at 9:00AM) at Long Beach City College.

The YESS event, entitled Healthy Relationships, the Best Prevention, is part of the City’s Safe Long Beach My Sister’s Keeper awareness campaign, and will provide information geared toward establishing the safety of young people with resources from over 40 participating agencies, including government, nonprofit and faith-based organizations. Keynote speaker Opal Singleton, President and CEO of Million Kids, will bring to the table strategies on opposing the dangers facing youth and their parents today.


“Long Beach is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our youth and families,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “This event provides another important opportunity for the community to come together to engage and support young people.”

“The event will also include several workshops for adults and youth to discuss child exploitation prevention methods and effective approaches for responding to victims of human trafficking, including empathy, compassion, and commitment,” as stated in the release.

“The Long Beach Human Trafficking Taskforce is excited to partner this year with Long Beach City College and the City of Long Beach to bring this important event to our community,” stated Jeanette Cheng, the LBHTTF Co-Founder and the Director of Public Policy & Advocacy at Crittenton Services for Children and Families.

In January 2015, the Long Beach City Council accepted a three-year, $1.5 million California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Program (CalGRIP) grant, titled My Sister’s Keeper. This is the seventh year the city has received the CalGRIP grant, which aims to prevent gang membership and gang victimization among at-risk females between the ages of 10 and 24 years of age and also includes a human trafficking awareness campaign, intervention, prevention, and diversion services, according to the release. More than 2,200 of the city’s youth and families have been served by programs and services funded by the grant.


“The safety of our youth and the factors that contribute to exploitation is of critical importance to the mission of our collaborative community task force,” Cheng added. “We want to inform and equip our community by bringing in experts with up-to-the date information, resources and services. We’re proud to continue to raise awareness and partner with community-based organizations around issues of youth exploitation and human trafficking happening in our City.”

For more information about the LBHTTF, click here. To learn more about My Sister’s Keeper, contact Teresa Gomez at [email protected]. For more information about Safe Long Beach, visit the website here.

Interpreters will provide information in Spanish and Khmer, and there will be opportunity drawings and complimentary food. To register to attend the YESS event, click here.

To anonymously report suspected human trafficking, call 888.373.7888.

Long Beach City College is located at 4901 Carson Street.

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Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].