OAKLAND (KCBS) — In a city that’s constantly battling child sex exploitation, hundreds of West Coast law enforcement prosecutors and service providers are gathering in Oakland this week to compare notes on how to combat human trafficking.

Alameda County and Oakland in particular has battled child prostitution for years. But now prosecutors are using a new approach, decriminalizing the victims and getting kids who may be brainwashed into trusting their pimps to trust in the legal system.

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Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has touted what is being dubbed as “Safety Net,” which tracks kids as they leave the juvenile justice system.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“In the last six months, we’ve already looked at over 250 children that we’re monitoring and making sure that they’re still plugged into services to keep them safe and stable,” she said.

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In the past, children would go back on the streets once they were finished with the juvenile justice system. O’Malley said no one would really know what would happen to the children until they either were arrested again or they were found dead on the side of the road.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said these programs only work when all cities and stakeholders are invested because trafficking does not end at the city limits.

“L.A., through the Valley and the Bay Area; they’re constantly moving the girls and it makes it much more difficult for us to try to intervene. We have pretty effective programs now to give girls other options,” Quan said.

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