California Attorney General Kamala Harris said she worries that many of the migrants fleeing their home countries in Central America for the United States are coming here as victims of human trafficking.
"We can see now what's going on with these children and women who were on that bus in Murietta and what's happening in terms of large groups of people coming into the U.S.," Harris said in an exclusive interview with NBC4 about the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border that led to rallies and protests across Southern California.
- Updates: Download the NBCLA News App
"When I see what is happening with these children and women predominantly coming into this country fleeing harm, I believe that there is a response that we must have that is first and foremost to make sure that victims and vulnerable people are protected," she said.
That's part of what Harris will discuss with her counterparts in a summit in Park City, Utah next weekend: transnational crime. From human trafficking to cybercrimes, identity theft to drug smuggling.
- Border Crisis: Video, Photos, Timeline
She says law enforcement needs to learn from the bad guys' playbook.
Local news from across Southern California
"The people who are committing crimes, they're talking with each other and working with each other," Harris said. "We want to enhance our ability to do the same thing."
Attorneys general from various states in Mexico, El Salvador and half a dozen U.S. states are set to meet to discuss the problems and the solutions to issues that are not unique to just California.
"Bringing everyone together is to acknowledge that and the way we'll be most effective is to work with each other and talk with each other," Harris said.
And that she says, is how the consortium of law enforcement is measuring its success in fighting crime - the mere fact they've agreed to meet and confer.
"There's a lot to do but I think this is a very, very important step," Harris said.
Harris believes the problem with transnational crime is supply and demand, from drugs to prostitutes.
"We have in this country an insatiable appetite for drugs and it is something we have to deal with," Harris said. "Here's the reality: 70 percent of the methamphetamine that enters the United States comes through San Diego, California. So when I look at the job my office has, when I look at the job California law enforcement has, it's a very big one."