Human trafficking is a public health and safety issue that impacts individuals, families and communities around the world.
Human trafficking is a crime under federal and international law. It is also a crime in every state in the U.S. It is important to understand from the federal definition that anyone under the age of 18 who is persuaded to perform a commercial sex act is automatically a trafficking victim.
Traffickers routinely target at-risk populations, and victims are often individuals who have experienced or been exposed to forms of violence, such as: child abuse, maltreatment, interpersonal violence, sexual assault, and community and gang violence, or individuals that lack a stable support system, such as: runaway and homeless youth, unaccompanied minors, and persons displaced during natural disasters.
With both kids and adults spending more time online due to social distancing measures brought on by COVID-19, local, state, and federal organizations are aware of instances where child predators are using the darknet to entice children to produce sexually explicit material.
In 2020, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received more than 17,000 reports related to possible Child Sex Trafficking (CST). These reports came from every state, and included both males and females. The average age of CST victims reported missing to NCMEC is 15 years old.
Additionally, from January - December 2020, NCMEC experienced a 97.5% increase in online enticement reports, a 28% increase in CyberTipline reports, and a 8.3% increase in calls to their hotline compared to the same time period in 2019.
Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2022
Governor Doug Ducey proclaimed January 2022 as Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Throughout the month of January, the Arizona State Capitol Dome will be lit blue to bring awareness to this important issue. We encourage homes, businesses, and places of worship to light your buildings to help raise awareness about human trafficking and show your support for efforts to #EndTrafficking. You can find additional human trafficking awareness and prevention resources below.
Arizona Human Trafficking Council
The Arizona Human Trafficking Council was established to address human trafficking in Arizona through strategic and targeted human trafficking prevention and awareness efforts.