Setting a Strong Foundation.
History and Background: The vision of Hope Zone (formally Zone Kids) started as Amanda Nino (Founder) encountered a six-year-old girl in the red light district who was being prostituted by her parents. After spending months in training and deep contemplation, it became clear that prevention was the best way to help. In 2010, Hope Zone began meeting weekly in a park located between a main highway and the red light district (Zona Norte). It was there that the Hope Zone staff began building relationships with the local children through playing sports and making crafts. Today, Hope Zone meets multiple times a week, offering programs in STEM, music, karate, creative arts, and providing personal tutoring for the kids. Hope Zone also provides sewing and jewelry making classes for the moms.
About the Area: The Hope Zone property and programs operate in an area of Tijuana called Zona Norte. Zona Norte is the largest red light district in all of North America, located only 15 minutes from the San Diego border. It is home to adult and child prostitution, drug violence, fear, abuse, and homelessness. The red light district is easily accessible for Americans and international tourists. There are 18,000 registered adult prostitutes and “child sex trafficking has long been known to be a problem in Tijuana, but there is no official data suggesting just how prolific it is” (Davis).