Learn the indicators in human trafficking

The Apache Junction Police Department would like to promote the awareness of a terrible blight on our society – human trafficking.  According to the U.S. State Department, Arizona is a main destination and transit point for labor and sex trafficking, both nationally and internationally. Some contributing factors include its proximity to Mexico, San Diego and Las Vegas, its warm weather, its network of freeways, and the fact that it is a major conference destination and home to many professional sporting events.

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labor.  It is widely recognized as a modern-day form of slavery.  In 2014, the Arizona Human Trafficking Council was established.  This council gives services directly to individuals in order to restore their lives. The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 14 years old and it doesn’t matter if you are male or female.  The widespread-use of electronic devices assists with recruiting to selling young, vulnerable victims.   Much still remains to be done in order to eradicate human trafficking in Arizona and elsewhere.  Additional information can be found at the state of Arizona website of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council: http://endsextrafficking.az.gov/ .

Learn the indicators of human trafficking:

  • Living with an employer.
  • Living in poor conditions.
  • Living with multiple people in a cramped space.
  • Inability to speak to an individual alone.
  • Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed.
  • Employer is holding identity documents.
  • Signs of physical abuse.
  • Submissive or fearful.
  • Unpaid or paid very little.
  • Under 18 years old and in prostitution.

The Community Alliance Against Family Abuse in Apache Junction has first-hand experience working with young people who have been victims of sex trafficking.  Some of the victims that CAAFA has helped were lured to Arizona from other nearby states and even other countries.  For more detailed information log onto or to see how CAAFA can help: www.caafaaz.org  or call them at 480-982-0205.  Get involved, help these victims, if you see something report it.

Editor’s note: Rob McDaniel is AJPD’s community resource coordinator.

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