Child Sex Trafficking, Awareness and Recovery San Diego has one of the highest rates of sex trafficking of children in the nation.

The average age of entry into commercial sexual exploitation is 16 years old with virtually every community impacted.

San Diego Youth Services has helped thousands of children and young adults who are at risk for trafficking, as well as those who have already been trafficked.

According to the International Labor Organization, children account for 1 in 4 of the 4.8 million victims globally. It is estimated that 60% of child sex trafficking victims in the United States have a history of involvement with the child welfare system, as these foster youth often face a lack of stability, support, and guidance, making them targets for traffickers. 

Our goal is for the youth we serve to become emotionally and financially self-reliant, so that they are able to overcome the trauma they have experienced, heal and lead productive and healthy lives.

Our Programs

Our staff members work directly with survivors to get them back on their feet, by providing them with resources, including shelter and food, so that they are able to leave their old lives behind. We provide mental health services, educational support, employment opportunities, as well as support to their families.

I CARE Program

I CARE supports youth, up to age 21, who are at risk for or have experienced sex trafficking or other commercial sexual exploitation. The program provides a mental health clinic and a drop-in center. I CARE provides services to youth and community training to youth, parents, educators and service providers at locations like Grossmont Union High School DistrictSan Diego Unified School DistrictCalifornia State University San Marcos and San Diego State University, as well as organizations such as Jewish Family Service.

Last year, our I CARE program provided services to 166 youth.

Mental Health Services

I CARE's mental health services include individual and family therapy, 24-hour support and medication evaluation, treatment and management. Community training on commercial sexual exploitation is also available.

Drop-in Center Services

I CARE Drop-in Center offers skill development workshops, support groups, leadership opportunities and social activities that support healing. The program offers specialized case management to help youth identify goals and create support around recovery, as well as education, employment and peer support services.

I CARE Contact

A program supporting youth up to age 21 who are at risk for or have experienced sexual exploitation

I Care is held in a
Confidential Location

STARS Program

Our STARS (Surviving Together, Achieving and Reaching for Success) program empowers survivors ages 12-24 to leave sexual exploitation and trafficking by providing emotional support to develop their inner strengths, improve their self-esteem and identify their dreams. We promote healing through relationships and a sense of community through our client-centered, trauma-informed services.

We provide community training throughout San Diego County to youth, parents, educators and service providers in the San Diego Unified School DistrictSan Diego County Office of EducationSan Diego District Attorney’s Office and other partner organizations working with youth.


Last year, our STARS program helped 68 survivors of human trafficking.

Supportive Services

STARS Contact

A program empowering survivors of human trafficking, ages 12-24

Alicia Nelson
Email Alicia