NewsCovering Kern County


Kern County Fair draws in victims of human trafficking

Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 21:34:03-04

According a local group the Kern County Fair draws victims of human trafficking to the area from out of town.

"They bring girls in from Vegas, Fresno, and Long Beach, they bring them from wherever and during this two week period, they will get a hotel on Union Avenue and have them walk on Union Avenue," said Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope. 

Magdalene Hope is a local group that helps combat human trafficking in the area. Bennett says that during the time of the fair they see a two-thirds increase in women walking the streets. 

"Anytime there is disposable income and an increase in money that is coming into the region, then you want to bring your product in and sell it," said Bennett. 

Bennett says there is also an increase in websites offering advertisements for local escorts. 

But he is is working to change that. Every Friday night he and volunteers hand out care packages to women on Union Avenue, extending help to them if they want it. 

"Most of the women you drive-by on Union Avenue are not there by choice and they are not wearing that because they want to, someone else is having them do that to get money. That needs to stop."