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UCCE facilitates teen conference about sexual exploitation of youth

The Issue

More than 200 minors are actively being prostituted by 115 pimps in Oakland, according to the Oakland Police Department. Thanks to the Sexually Exploited Minors Network and Measure Y funding, a Safe Place Alternative is up and running in Oakland. Community-based organizations are working with police, the probation department, the district attorney’s office and other city and county offices to deal with the needs of sexually exploited children; however the network had not held a youth activity.

What Has ANR Done?

The 4-H Youth Development Advisor in Alameda County, Charles Go, provided leadership and facilitation to make a teen conference and resulting movement a reality. Go wrote a grant that provided funds to hold the event.

The Payoff

Oakland teens increase awareness of the sexual exploitation of children

On Aug. 9, 2007, more than 100 teens took part in "r U Affected," a teen conference in East Oakland. Teens hosted, facilitated and educated their peers on tough topics, such as “Friend, boyfriend, vs. pimp,” “Street Smarts,” “Got Ur Back,” etc.

Local politicians, such as Oakland City Council members, attended the event, observing and learning from the teens. The participants ranged in age from 14 to 21, with the majority 16 to 17 years old. About 65 percent of participants were female; 35 percent were male. The ethnic breakdown was 35 percent black, 32 percent unknown and, in descending order of prevalence, Southeast Asian, Asian, Latino, mixed and white.

A highlight was the keynote speaker, Lateefah Simon, who spoke passionately about taking action to combat the exploitation of youth. Simon currently works with troubled girls and young women to help them speak out about civil rights abuses of girls in the juvenile justice system.

The youth conference participants were asked to evaluate the conference by writing their thoughts and feelings on small pieces of cloth. The pieces were sewn together like Tibetan flags and are available for display.

Clientele Testimonial

"When is the next one, I had FUN," a participant.

"Teens are actually doing the whole thing. That is so cool," an adult from the facility.

"I can't believe I did it!" a teen co-host.


Supporting Unit: 4-H Youth Development Program

Charles G. Go, (510) 567-6812, cggo@ucdavis.edu