Office of the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Department of Public Safety Rescues 17-year-old Sex Trafficking Victim

January 29, 2019

PHOENIX-- January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and in 2018, the Arizona Department of Public Safety oversaw the rescue of 20 trafficked children.

In January, DPS rescued a 17-year-old victim. It started as a drug investigation being done by DPS, and turned into a sex trafficking case. The two suspects, a husband and wife, have been arrested, and the 17 year old girl is now safe.

"Much of what we have is coming from California, and they're setting up shop," said Trooper Rachel De La Torre.   

During their investigation, they tracked the girl to the home of 37-year-old Donald Jackson and 37-year-old Tennessee Jackson, where she was living. There were red flags after serving a search warrant of the home.

"A group of five or six young, 16 to 20-year-olds in a house, with none of the parents there, and these people controlling the stuff," said Captain Tony Mapp. "The thing that struck me is that all of the rooms where the kids were or the young adults or juveniles were at, there were air mattresses. Very little furniture, very little for them to sleep on."     

According to DPS, the Jacksons were using the girl to sell drugs, and was being trafficked. They've been charged with money laundering, narcotics offenses and sex trafficking. 

Currently, there's 1,000 missing kids in Arizona, and DPS officials say one in three runaways will be lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours.

"We know traffickers often target juveniles that are vulnerable and have vulnerabilities like basic needs, either housing or food," said Trooper De La Torre.

There's plenty of warning signs to look out for. Some of those things include girls not wearing age-appropriate clothing, or if they have their nails and hair professionally done, or are wearing expensive, designer clothing or talking about a new older boyfriend with money.

If you suspect someone is being trafficked, you're asked to call police.