TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign plans to tackle the issue of human trafficking on Tuesday, June 20.
The focus is on how people can help during their summer travels. Human trafficking is a problem that affects thousands around the world, including right here at home.
"Human trafficking is real. It exists. It exists here in southern Arizona," Kristine Hall said.
Hall works with the organization CODAC which is part of a special task force called SAATURN or the Southern Arizona Anti-Trafficking Unified Response Network in partnership with the Tucson Police Department. The collaboration was made possible through a federal gr ant.
Part of the effort includes training people and businesses in the community on ways to spot signs of human trafficking.
The organization attributes its outreach efforts to an increase in reports since the group was formed.
As people go about their travels this summer, SAATURN wants you to be observant as that could lead to saving someone's life.
"If you're at a hotel for summer vacation and you see a scenario between a person and maybe an older person who doesn't necessarily look like family or if you even notice the hair on the back of your neck go up that tells you intuitively something might be off. Those might be signs, not necessarily, but might be signs that something is going on that the authorities might want to know about," Hall said.
Here are possible signs that someone could be a victim:
- Poor health and the inability to seek care for health concerns
- Visible injuries such as bruises, scars, or burns
- Visible tattoos that could be branding marks
- Carries excess amount of cash
- Has hotel room keys
- Unable to leave their home or work without approval
- Exhibits fear, anxiety and/or depression
- Has false identification or multiple forms of ID
- Seems unfamiliar with their surroundings
- Has distrust for authorities
- Does not know their home address
- Allows others to speak for them when addressed directly
- Receives little or no payment for work
If you think someone is a victim you can call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
"One of the best ways to help in this situation is to just call 911 and report any tips you might have. Even if it doesn't amount to anything, you never know. The police could be investigating an area or a situation and this could be very helpful to an existing investigation or might be just the thing that a victim needs to get out of a situation," Hall said.