TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - January in Arizona is officially “Human Trafficking Prevention Month,” as proclaimed by Gov. Doug Ducey.
This is a step forward by the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith & Family in its effort to aid in ending trafficking, and protecting the rights, freedom and dignity of victims.
Human trafficking is considered a form of slavery, and it can affect anyone; but it particularly victimizes vulnerable populations and puts a strain on communities everywhere.
It occurs when a person is harbored, transported or obtained for the purpose of commercial sex, forced labor, involuntary servitude or debt bondage; it also occurs through forced slavery, fraud or coercion; or when victims have not reached 18.
The International Labor Organization estimates human trafficking as a $150 billion industry; and about two-thirds of that money is generated by forced sexual exploitation.
In 2019, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported more than 230 cases in Arizona, of which about 150 were for sex trafficking.
Women and young girls are the most affected, accounting for more then 70% of all modern-slavery victims.
On Dec. 22, Ducey signed an executive order renewing the Arizona Human Trafficking Council. It will be in charge of evaluating and reporting state-wide human trafficking data to the governor.