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Sex trafficking sting highlights complex problem for minors

 February 22, 2023 at 4:28 PM PST

S1: A sex trafficking bust sheds light on a growing problem in San Diego.

S2: We have also got to get upstream of this problem and teach our kids what to look for and watch out for.

S1: I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. Dr. Eric Topol weighs in. As state and local COVID emergency declarations come to an end.

S3: Just in case we get a whole new family of variants. Beyond this American family , we're not prepared.

S1: How does the lottery help Education ? And a conversation with author Scott Mama Day and the impact of Native American literature. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Law enforcement officials announced yesterday the arrest of 48 people in connection with a month long sex trafficking operation in National City and San Diego. They also identified 16 people as victims of human trafficking , including eight minors. Here to talk more about the complex issue of sex trafficking is Kim Barry Jones. She is the executive director of Center for Justice and Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University and leads a San Diego Human Trafficking Research and Data Advisory roundtable. Kim , welcome to Midday Edition.

S2: Thank you. I appreciate being here.


S2: They work so hard to track down cases and do this kind of law enforcement activity that leads , hopefully to prosecution. But what was really interesting is this particular neighborhood I've actually been speaking with folks that live in that community and other community leaders that support that community. And they are very aware of the issue. And so it was really I was very gratified , actually , to see law enforcement pursuing something in that community because it's such an issue down there. And the community's very worried about what's happening and their kids are at risk and just haven't known what to do about it.

S1: And you know what ? It's for law enforcement. These kinds of cases are difficult for a number of reasons. But for the officers that work these cases , they have to sort of take a personal approach.

S2: Not every community has that. And the task force is made up of a variety of agencies all the way from local up to federal. And they loan out officers to the task force to pursue these cases. And many of them do have to go undercover sometimes as buyers. They have to work very diligently to pursue these cases because they are so complex and there is often an overlap between victim and abuser. There are not clear lines often. And so , yes , they they do have to get really involved down on the street level in what's going on , to really understand the complexities before they can go in and make a sting like they did. Typically , you see a lot of arrests of buyers , which I think is important , that our community and our society understand that buying sex is not something you should do. But what's trickier is actually apprehending traffickers. And it looks like in this situation , they've actually apprehended folks who are involved in the exploitation of people. And so that's encouraging because it's that higher level exploiter that we really need to get to in order to unravel this.

S1: Some talk a bit more about that.

S2: And so we work very closely with prevention efforts. So we're focused on minors. And although trafficking victims cross every age range , the average age in San Diego is 16. So there are victims younger than that , which we saw this week and much older. I've worked with trafficking victims up into their forties , so they really do cross every socioeconomic level , every race and ethnicity. There's no cookie cutter victim and there's no cookie cutter trafficker either. But one commonality that we see is , is vulnerabilities. And so when I say vulnerabilities , none of them would really be probably a surprise to you. They're things like poverty , lack of family support , mental health issues , all of those things that make kids vulnerable in general to gangs and other criminal activity also make them vulnerable to traffickers. And traffickers know what they're looking for. They know what kind of kid is going to be more vulnerable. And those are the kind of kids they look for online. They actually look for them in our schools through what we call peer recruiters. So they take the exploited and they coerce them into also exploiting on their behalf.


S2: And although that is absolutely true , some do. What we see in San Diego is what we call psychological coercion. So the coercion doesn't look like kidnapping you and throwing you in the back of a van. The coercion looks like posing as your boyfriend and finding a girl who is very vulnerable and looking for love , looking for attention and pursuing her in a way that she actually grows to believe that you love her and care about her. And then at some point when that bond has been created , that's when you use that bond and exploit it and say to the girl , for example , you know , just this one time , I need you to do this for me so I can cut my album or we can go to Disneyland. And you're the traffickers. Then using that relationship , which isn't actually one , but the girl really sees it as one as the way to leverage and then coerce. So psychological coercion is actually the most common form of grooming that we see. Another form that we see that's more common than the violence is through substance abuse. So traffickers will use substances , drugs and alcohol to coerce , to get somebody into a state of being compliant. And then those drugs and alcohol can often be used for someone to cope with the trauma that they're going through. So it's this vicious cycle where they're there needing the substance to survive , what there is happening to them. But the substance then becomes a part of the coercion. And those are the two most common forms of coercion that we see here in San Diego.

S1: And let's take a step back here.

S2: But what most people don't know is that so much of what we would claim is or think is prostitution is actually trafficking. And the difference is the element of force , fraud or coercion. So those three elements in some form have to be present for someone to be trafficked. So if you're selling yourself , you're selling sex and somebody is benefiting from it , they're making money off of it , they're helping organize it. They're telling you what to do. If there is a form of coercion or fraud which can be financial , then that creates a situation where that person is being trafficked. In the case of a minor , though , there does not have to be any force , fraud or coercion existing because our law in California says you cannot consent to commercial sex if you are a minor. So when you hear the term child prostitute , that is not a thing. In California , we do not have child prostitutes here. Any child that is involved in the commercial sex industry in any way is considered under the law a victim of trafficking.

S1: You mentioned your research , found a big jump in sex trafficking during the pandemic. Tell us about that.

S2: Yes , and that data didn't come from our initial research , but what it came from was our conversations and interactions with the human trafficking Law enforcement Task force. So COVID starts , kids are sent home. Schools are closed down. Oftentimes , it's those teachers and school staff that are the front line folks that notice that something's not right with a kid. So you can imagine there's all of these kids at home. Many of those parents had to continue to work , especially in the lower income families where parents were doing these these frontline jobs that were keeping our world functioning. Two degrees. You've got kids at home alone. You have a schools , the school systems that are struggling to figure out how to educate our kids. And you have parents that are absent and that came together into a situation where kids were just not being supervised. And so you have all of this online time. You also have kids out in the community. So we found anecdotally , I heard this from friends who are in the school system. When kids came back , the gangs had had a year or more with those kids out on the street , in the neighborhood with nothing to do all day. And like I said earlier , traffickers know how to manipulate vulnerabilities , and that's a vulnerability. So we saw the law enforcement task force saw three fold increase in child exploitation cases early on in COVID. And from our perspective , on the prevention side , because we've been in the schools with prevention. We also saw a significant increase when we got back into schools.

S1: What are some of the signs that someone in a special. A child is being trafficked.

S2: There are definitely signs. The thing we have to hold in context is they don't automatically mean a child is being trafficked , but there are really important signs to look for. For example , you take a child who is normally coming to school and performing while in school , and you see this dramatic change. Maybe they don't show up on Mondays. They're never in school. On Mondays , they come to school and they're falling asleep in class. They're starting to miss school. Their grades are slipping. So you take a child who wasn't showing signs like that , and all of a sudden is that's an important sign to look at that there's something going on. You will see kids show up at school with a second cell phone. They are talking about a relationship with someone that they met online and they're using the second phone to communicate with them. That can be a sign having things like expensive purses and jewelry and new clothes that don't fit in with the typical situation that child is in is a sign of this coercion and the grooming that can be happening. And you'll even see as dramatic as tattooing. So oftentimes traffickers will actually brand their victims with a tattoo. So those are some of the most common signs. And like I said , they don't automatically mean someone's being trafficked , but they're definitely something that we want school officials and parents to know about to look for and then just to dig a little deeper.


S2: And in every single high school , we found evidence of grooming or trafficking. And in 90% of those schools , there had been active cases of such. And nobody expected that. And it was a wakeup call for this community. And out of that , this the concept of prevention really started to rise to the top. And we at the university came alongside that at the request of San Diego Unified School District. Point Loma Nazarene University formed the No More Prevention program , and that is a school based , peer led drama based program that goes into the schools and does the exact thing I was just talking about , where it shows the story of a girl. Then what we're doing is we're using drama and peers to show these kids this is what it looks like. And we have seen that have a huge impact. We have had children in our audiences who walked in the door and didn't see themself as a victim of trafficking. And by the end of the performance and the program , we're able to identify that they they were seeing themselves in that story. So I beat my drum all the time around prevention , because we have to do these things. We have to prosecute , we have to provide services for survivors. But we have also got to get upstream of this problem and teach our kids what to look for and watch out for so they can do it not only for themselves but also for their friends.

S1: Definitely a wakeup call and important work that you're doing. I've been speaking with Kim Barry Jones , executive director of Center for Justice and Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University. And , Kym , thank you very much for joining us.

S2: Thank you for having me.

S1: Next week , on February 28th , the city and county of San Diego will end their COVID emergency declarations. That's following the lead of the state of California. But what does it mean and how will this affect how we fight COVID going forward ? Joining me is Dr. Eric Topol , director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute , to answer all of our COVID questions. And , Dr. Topol , welcome back.

S3: Thanks so much.


S3: Some of the things that are going to be cut back are some of the testing that was made available , some of the supplies like the rapid tests. But overall , you know , things that we're going to discuss are pretty quiet at the moment relative to where it's been. So it probably won't have any substantive change. You know , the other one that's coming is the national change in public emergency categorization in May that will have a bit more impact with respect to coverage of things like vaccines , packs of ID , that sort of thing. But right now , it shouldn't make a material difference.


S3: The only issue that doesn't go in the right direction is the wastewater surveillance shows. Some uptick , but hospitalizations are way down. It's hard to know about cases to date because we don't have central reporting , but they're very low. There's still circulating virus here , so people shouldn't just let their guard down. But overall , it's a very favorable situation. And really what's impressive is that variant we've talked about in recent weeks , the XP one five , we are basically the majority of our cases are that variant and we're holding up really well. We're not seeing the kind of sickness that was predicted from a very challenging variant. So things are good. Hopefully they'll stay that way. The big question we don't know yet is whether we're due to get a whole nother family of variants in the months ahead. In the meantime , hopefully this relatively good state will continue as well.


S3: You know , we issued a big roadmap for better , broader vaccines this week , and it's a 90 page document that takes us through about what we need , which are vaccines that would be variant proof. Now , whatever happens to this virus in the future that we are ahead of it , but we're not putting a coordinated effort with priority and funding for that or for nasal vaccines. So just in case we get a whole new family of variants beyond this American family that we've dealt with for well over a year , we're not prepared and we could be working on this , but we're not getting serious enough. It's this attitude that the pandemic is over when in fact , that might not be the case.

S1: You know , in other parts of the world , India , for example , they're rolling out a nasal vaccine.

S3: It looks like it's an approach that we should have here. There are many other nasal vaccines in the hopper , most of them not being developed here in the United States. But the nasal vaccine is so critical because that is what gives us protection against infection. That's what we're missing Now with our vaccines. We only have a low level and brief time when the current vaccines do anything towards suppression of infection and transmission. So the nasal vaccine does that , and we don't know how long it lasts. Probably at least 3 to 4 months. And the ability for people to take a spray even on multiple times a year if necessary , would be far better than having to go through booster shots. So I wish we would get serious about that , hopefully. I know we will at some point , but hopefully it won't be way too late.

S1: And , you know , we didn't see a winter surge back here stateside. Agencies are starting to let their guard down , which may not be the best thing to do.

S3: But you only know about that when you look backward. So , you know , it could be any time in the months ahead when we start to see a major , you know , a serious outbreak and when that goes through the country. Right now , the entire world is relatively quiescent. So it all depends on whether this virus can find a new path to get to hosts and hurt us , whether it's run its course , if it if it has run its course , as in all these recent variants that we've been through , then it will be in an endemic state. But there's always a liability that it will find a whole new way to escape our immunity to get for even more spread. And that would create a very significant challenge to us.

S1: And let's talk about new research. A study recently published in The Lancet shows a COVID infection offers ten months of immunity protection.

S3: We're are CDC has essentially neglected the immunity that comes from a COVID infection. Now , obviously , we don't want people to get their immunity from a COVID infection , But as you know very well , a very high proportion people had at least one COVID infection. So they did derive immunity from it. That's why the mandates were not right , in my view , because we never gave credit for people who got through an infection. The problem is when you get an infection , no matter what your age is , there's rolling the dice. You could wind up , of course , do very well ultimately , but you could get really sick , you could get long COVID , you could even die , especially as we get into advanced age groups. So the problem with the CDC , unlike other countries , is they never said , look , if you have prior COVID documented with a test , then you should only have one dose of vaccine. But , you know , here this new data in The Lancet that you've referred to really supports the policy that many other countries around the world took on , which was if you got through COVID , you know , that's that's meaningful. It does provide protection. But also just to mention that a vaccine on top of prior COVID , we've seen a benefit to help prevent long COVID , which is the big legacy of the pandemic right now. We've got tens of millions of people around the world in this country that are suffering , and we have no clue as to how long that will go on. We have no treatment that's effective , that's been validated. So that's the reason why vaccines are important as well.

S1: And there's also some new research that shows vaccines can help prevent strokes in COVID patients.

S3: The first one was from Korea , and this week is from the United States. And these are big national registries. And they both showed that people who were vaccinated over the time after they compared to people who had an infection during follow up , there was a significant reduction of heart attacks and strokes in the United States big national database. It was over 40%. And in the Korea South Korea database of the entire country , it was about 60%. This is really important. And again , it shows the power of vaccination. And the recent study this week from the New Age also showed that partial vaccination that we just talked about had some benefit as well , just not as much as for vaccination. So the ability to inhibit heart attacks and strokes is just the opposite of what the anti-vax community has been propagating. Hmm.

S1: Hmm. And this next question , I know this is in your wheelhouse , but , you know , there's been a lot of talk around artificial intelligence. We've got this chart g p t. I'm curious to know how you see AI helping us to better understand long-covid and to fight COVID in general.

S3: Yeah , well , COVID , especially in its chronic form , is very complex with lots of different mechanisms , any one of which could be operating in any given person. And like I mentioned , we have no treatments , no drugs that are shown to be effective. The hope is with the kind of way we can ingest data through these neural networks of AI that eventually that will help. Like you did it you know , I , you may know , helped come up with a drug , repurpose a drug which has been lifesaving for people in the hospital with a AI , with COVID. That's an AI triumph. So hopefully we'll see some of that. I think the main thing that we're looking at for A.I. is not necessarily in helping us with long COVID , but rather even in the day to day functions of of doctors , nurses and patient to help deal with all the data , to help give the gift of time back for the patient doctor relationship , to give patients more autonomy with their data. So there's a lot of excitement. It's going to take time. This is very early in this chat GPT so called foundation or that large language models , but eventually this should make a big difference.

S1: All right. That certainly takes us on to the next phase of what this could all look like. I've been speaking with Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. Dr. Topol , thank you so much for your insight.

S3: Thank you , Jane.

S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. More than $100 million is up for grabs in tonight's Powerball lottery. And that follows the announcement of a record $2 billion jackpot win by one lucky Southern California man just last week. KPBS education reporter Angie Perez tells us how lottery money also means a big win for public school students.

S4: With the sound of lottery ticket printing numbers. That could be the Powerball prize winner.

S3: So get your tickets ready. Here come tonight's winning numbers. Let's start things off this evening.

S4: Between Powerball Mega millions , Super Lotto Plus and those scratchers. Altogether , the lottery has raised $41 billion to benefit public schools across the state. That includes K-through-12 schools , community colleges and public universities. $0.80 of every $2 Powerball or Mega millions ticket you buy goes to just about every kind of education program. Albert Johnson is director of the California State Lottery.

S3: These numbers represent promises kept since voters created the lottery in 1984 with the explicit purpose and intent to raise supplemental funding for public education. That's our mission.

S5: It's my thing. Yes , you did it.

S4: Cheryl HILLARD is a science teacher at Millennial Tech Middle School in the Choice View Neighborhood , a campus in the San Diego Unified District. Her specialty includes lessons in robotics and 3D printing. She's also an expert at finding funding and donations for all the extras. She wants her students to have so they can learn and succeed.

S5: Or appreciate for all the money the district gives us. All the money that we get from our site , all the money that we get from concerned partners in the community. Nonprofits look to us and and are just asking what can we do to help out ? So we definitely appreciate the lottery money , but we appreciate money from all the different sources that it comes from.

S2: I like to say lottery money for.

S1: Schools is bonus money.

S4: Caroline Becker is the California lottery's deputy director of public affairs and Communications. Part of her job is to explain to the rest of us how lottery money benefits students.

S1: We don't.

S2: Want people to think of the lottery.

S1: As the savior of our schools as most people know.

S2: Education funding is quite complex.

S1: They always.

S2: Need more. Again , we.

S1: Are here to raise supplemental.

S2: Funding , not replace those traditional dollars , and we're proud to.

S1: Do it.

S5: Here's a battery. All right.

S4: Hilliard's class , that money could be used to buy extras like the LED lights and batteries her students are using in their Black History Month projects. This week , they each chose a quote from a famous leader , athlete or community activist. Then carved it into a piece of acrylic and wired the base to light up their learning. Seventh grader Jada Blackman is grateful for the extra resources.

S5: I chose never be limited by other people's limited imagination and is because nearby Mae Jemison , one of the first black astronauts.

S4: Her classmate , Alana Lada , is thrilled to be in this science class.

S5: We've made a bunch of 3D prints from our 3D printers. We've also made a bunch of like custom DIY t shirts and stuff , and it's pretty cool.

S4: And Robin's lottery money not only pays for these extras , but also can be applied to pay salaries to retain quality teachers like a special ed assistant. But it cannot be used for things like new school buildings. The money is distributed to districts based on attendance , supplementing with small amounts of funding that are flexible and valuable , says the lottery communications director.

S2: You're supporting public schools. No matter whether you win or lose. So every ticket sold , every ticket played is a win. We like to save for public education.

S4: Sarah HILLARD is a devoted educator and a player.

S5: I do buy lottery tickets. I do buy lottery tickets. I've yet to hit Big Red. Here's hoping to.

S3: Play America's favorite.

S4: Jackpot game. And the power of the Powerball keeps rolling on. Remember , there are multiple ways to win. Good luck. Everyone.

S6: Everyone. We'll see you.

S3: Back here Wednesday night.

S1: That story from KPBS , education reporter Meg Perez , who joins me now to open his Reporter's Notebook. Meg , welcome.

S4: Jade , it's good to be back with you. Likewise.

S1: Likewise. So , okay , IMG , $100 million.

S4: But I will tell you , Jade , that in researching this story , I found out there are a couple of different types of players. There are those who are very committed who get those scratcher tickets every few days , every week , or buy their quick picks for the Powerball and Mega millions and so forth. And then there are those of us , like me , who live in our delusional world and wait until the jackpot gets up to that $2.04 billion , because clearly , at that point , it's time for me to buy a ticket. And by the way , I only buy one because luck will be on my side and that's all I need to win the billion dollars.

S1: You know , that's how I play , too , M.G..

S4: I'm sure there are a lot of us out there.

S1: And at the end of the day , you can't win if you don't. Play.

S4: Yes.


S4: And that's the reason we did this feature , is to let people know what they're supporting because it's important. As we said in the piece , the lottery was approved by voters back in 1984. The first scratcher ticket was sold in November of 1985. So it's been a while of Californians putting money into a system that is helping education. And I think it's important that people know that every dollar they spend , whether they win or lose , they are helping students in public schools in California.

S1: I mean , and with these huge jackpots , we've been seeing $2 billion , as you said , won last week.

S4: We want to be clear and we said in the feature and the representatives from the lottery say it's only supplemental income. But come on , a little bit of money is better than no money. And in the world that we live in today , having survived COVID and all the needs of education , it matters. And it does make a difference. And yes , the higher the pot , the higher the amount of money that goes to schools.

S1: All right. And in your reporting , you found that to date , the lottery has raised $41 billion for public schools. How is that money used.

S4: That can be used in any way that that supports instructional education. So it can't be used for , say , building a new school building or something like that. As long as the project is providing some type of instruction to students , then it can be funded. And so the next question is , well , how many dollars does each school get ? We just don't know , because it's based on attendance , first of all , and also need. And so each school district will decide , hey , we can use this little pot of money from the lottery to fund these projects , these extras , as we said in the piece , to improve education for students. Okay.

S1: Okay.

S4: And it again , it's based on attendance of school districts and also needs. So not every school district is the same size. Not every school district is in the same need. And so that is determined before money is distributed. And by the way , the lottery takes the money , sends it to the state controller , who then distributes it from there.

S6: Mm hmm.


S4: As you know , I was a special ed teacher for seven years , and I spent a lot of my own money. And happy to do so. Let me be clear. There are many teachers out there who are dedicated to their students and their priority is their education. So if I needed to spend a little extra money for an extra project , then I was going to do it. But this money , like Miss HILLARD said in her classroom , helps buys those extras That really enhances the learning that her students are getting.

S1: I'm learning something new every day with your reports. M.G. Thank you so much. I've been speaking with KPBS education reporter M.G. Perez. And M.G. , as always , thanks.

S4: Thank you.

S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Native American author in Scott Day has celebrated the traditions of his Kiowa ancestry in his prose , poetry , essays and playwriting for more than six decades. His 1968 novel , House Made of Don , made him the first Indigenous author to win a Pulitzer Prize. It led to a breakthrough for Native American literature into mainstream recognition. On Friday , Mama Dave will be the featured speaker at Point Loma Nazarene University's Writers Symposium by the Sea. I spoke with Scott Mohammadi recently. I started by asking about how his spiritual connection to the land impacted him and influenced his writing.

S6: I grew up on Indian reservations in the Southwest , and that's become an important subject for me. So the influence has been very great.

S1: An oral tradition and storytelling plays a major role in the preservation of native culture.



S6: So that experience has been very valuable to me.


S6: And of course there are no written records of that. So I'm having to use the oral tradition as best I can and use my imagination.

S1: What's that process like.

S6: Incorporating it into something that is concise ? It's a large story and it's very difficult to boil it down into into something manageable. But that's the primary challenge , I think. And I'm doing that. But it's it does take work and it comes slowly.

S1: You were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for your 1968 novel , Housemaid of Dawn.

S6: The prize came as a complete surprise to me. I wasn't expecting it. Didn't know I'd been nominated. And so it was a very important thing in my life. It changed my life in certain in certain ways. But it's you know , the question is , how did it how did I feel about it ? How did it come to me ? I got a call from my editor at Harper Row , as it was called at the time , and she said , Scott , are you sitting down ? And I said , Yeah. I wasn't really , but I said I was. And she said , You won the Pulitzer Prize. And I said , Yeah , till I come on. I'm busy , Fran. Don't bother me. It took a while for it to sink in , and when it did , it was wonderful.

S1: And your book , House Made of Dawn. It's been described as the beginning of the Native American literary renaissance. Did you intend for your work to open the door for other writers ? No.

S6: My intention was to write a book and and to write it not for anyone in particular , but just for the sake of writing. So the Ken Lincoln , who who had a book published a book entitled A Native American Renaissance , gave me credit for starting something there. And I think it's true that that there are two books that come to mind House Made of Dawn and and De Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee , which came out about the same time those two books were very influential in in calling attention to Native American writing.


S6: You know , the American Indian experience is really wonderful , wonderfully dramatic and full of good things. That is things that are appropriate to the telling. And I think , you know , the Native American has always had to work against a language barrier that is slowly being overcome. So there are more and more now native young lady of American writers who are coming to into the spotlight. And that's a good thing. It'll continue to grow and it will be important part of American literature as it already is , I think , in some in some ways. But it'll continue to grow.

S1: In your book , Housemaid have done really deals with the many. Faculties of growing up on a reservation.

S6: She always books in the house and she was always telling me stories and reading things to me. And and and when I came of age suggesting they should be read. So she was a major influence. And otherwise it's just something I , I wanted to do from the time I was eight years old or something like that.

S1: You've published both prose and poetry. Your poetry contains these raw , impressionistic descriptions of the Native American experience while your prose blends memoir with folklore. I wonder if you can talk about how you approach writing differently with these two genres.

S6: Well , poetry to me is the is the crown of literature. It's it's the best possible way to express yourself in language. So I consider myself a poet. I'd rather be a poet than a novelist or or anything else that happens that I have dabbled in a lot of things. I've tried many forms. I've written plays and travel literature , novels and poetry , of course. So , you know , it would be hard for me to to list them in the in the order of importance. But I , I do think that poetry is far and away the most important kind of writing for me.

S1: And you've been writing for more than six decades.

S6: It's changing constantly. And as I say , we're getting more and more Indian writers , Native American writers. And that's all to the good we have now. I'm no longer the only Pulitzer Prize winner among Native Americans , and things are happening , and it's a good thing. I answered your question.

S1: You did. You did. You know you're not you are not able to travel to San Diego for the symposium , but rather than cancel the symposium , instead came to your home in New Mexico.

S6: I'm very pleased to to be able to do that. And thanks to you and to technology , we can do it. So I'm very pleased to to have been invited and pleased to participate.

S1: And as you know , San Diego is home to a number of different tribes , the experiences , traditions and art of which are also uniquely different.

S6: I do. I think so. We're getting voices from all over the place , representing many different kinds of culture and experience , many different languages. So , yes , diversity is crucial. And and we're still finding that out. That's going to be an important part of the literature.


S6: It's got so many different cultures. And now many of them are coming to the fore. And we're understanding more and more about Native America. And that's important. There's an awful lot we don't know about , you know , early experiences before before contact , white Indian contact. But since then , we've made great strides. We've been given citizenship , for one thing. Just to mention the political aspect and all kinds of different things have been coming to the fore. And we are beginning to appreciate them , to evaluate them , and to understand where they where they belong in our general experience.


S6: Yes. We know now plagued with fake news and so on. So it's censorship has been a problem that we have had to deal with for for a long time from the beginning.


S6: But certainly it is important. And I think it will become more and more so as we go along. I hope.

S1: I've been speaking with author Scott Mohammadi , who will appear virtually at the 28th Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea this Friday , February 24th at 7 p.m.. And Scott , thank you so much for speaking with us today.

S6: Thank you.

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Law enforcement officials arrested 48 people in connection with a month-long operation targeting suspected sex traffickers in National City and San Diego. We hear from a local expert on how sex trafficking impacts minors. Then, the city and county of San Diego will end COVID emergencies at the end of the month. How will this affect how we fight against the virus in the future? Next, more than $100 million is on the line for Wednesday’s Powerball lottery, but how much is the California lottery really helping public education? Finally, a conversation with Native American author N. Scott Momaday who will be Friday’s featured writer at this year’s Writers Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University.