Gov. Ducey and Cindy McCain address human trafficking issues

“It makes your blood boil,” Governor Doug Ducey said. “There’s real evil when people are taking our children and addicting them to drugs and putting them into sexual slavery.”

Yesterday, Gov. Ducey joined Cindy McCain, co-chair of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council, at the Phoenix Dream Center to highlight the progress Arizona has made to end human trafficking.

“I’m truly inspired by the tremendous work being done all across Arizona around human trafficking. Our state is getting a lot done right now, we are becoming a national example for innovative programming on trauma-informed victim care and prosecution of traffickers,” McCain said.

In 2018, the Arizona Human Trafficking Council’s goal was not only to create support for victims but also to promote public awareness surrounding human trafficking, victim services, and prevention through trainings, data analysis, and collaboration.

Since the council’s inception, more than 31,000 Arizonans received prevention resources and awareness training.

According to McCain, “the McCain Institute is convening stakeholders working on prevention education around the country, including federal and state entities and nonprofits to foster knowledge, sharing about basic educational standard tools, resources, reading materials and extracurricular.”

According to a report from the International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation, almost 25 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, 5.5 million of which are children.

In Arizona, the average age that a child is first trafficked is 14 years old and in 2016 the Human Trafficking Hotline ranked Arizona 16th in the number of calls received.

To help identify the best practices to reduce the issue in Arizona former Governor Jan Brewer created the Human Trafficking Task Force, which turned into the Arizona Human Trafficking Council.

After his inauguration in 2015, Ducey – who is now a member of the National Advisory Committee on Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth – indefinitely renewed the council.

According to the council, since 2014 it has:

  • “Successfully recommended the revision of state laws to strengthen prosecution for perpetrators and increase protection for victims, including the revision of language of ARS 13-3212 from “child prostitution” to “child sex trafficking”;
  • Created outreach campaigns that included televised PSAs and the “See Something, Say Something” victim indicator cards;
  • Participated in community and issue-specific events as well as engaging communities for working events such as the Victim Services Solutions Summit;
  • Engaged key stakeholders to help establish the Arizona Guidelines Regional Response to Youth Sex Trafficking;
  • Hosted learning, professional development, and collaboration opportunities for stakeholders such as the Yavapai County Sex Trafficking Symposium; and
  • Provided trainings and awareness presentations to over 31,000 professionals and community members statewide.”

“The Arizona Human Trafficking Council has been essential in expanding efforts to identify these victims and connect them to services,” Ducey said. “The council has also been crucial for providing community stakeholders with the tools and training necessary to find the bad guys and hold them accountable. Thanks to their work, Arizona’s youth, our tribal nations, and our entire state is more engaged on this issue.”

Earlier this month Ducey designated January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

To read the council’s 2018 report, click here.

Emily Richardson

1 comment

  • Hello,

    My name is Shawna and I am the mother of a trafficking survivor. Yesterday 2/19/19
    I attended the Arizona Human Trafficking Council meeting. I was disappointed.

    While all of the educating of the “public”, boards and groups that are being created, one huge problem remains. This problem is our broken court system. The same system that the victims are supposed to trust is failing them in my eyes. When I broached this subject with the Trafficking Council, I was told by the Co-Chair that “this is not the forum to discuss this matter. We will get someone to speak with you.” Nobody did. I felt that my issue along with the victims. When I told him my daughter’s case since 2016 has had more than 39 different court dates, that was the answer I recieved.

    After the meeting was adjourned, I was approached by Pastor Brian from the Phoenix Dream Center. He realized who I was since my daughter was there from 3/2017-12/2017.
    She was the first minor the center took on before combining with Streetlight USA. With the Phoenix Dream Center it was a constant battle of wills with my husband and I and their poorly Raj administration. We put her there with the hope of her getting the much needed counseling, learning life skills, and finishing her education. She got the counseling.

    I will keep fighting for my daughter and all of the survivors of this horrible crime until change happens. Changes where our children are educated on this subject, changes in the help our children recieve, and changes in our broken judicial systems.

    Everything looks good on paper and on the Web until it hits home with your family.


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