The Grand Canyon State is taking new steps to crack down on sex trafficking within its borders. News4 Tucson reported this summer that Arizona planned to train professionals in the tourism industry on how to recognize and handle potential cases of trafficking. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office joined forces with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help ensure that workers in hotels, airports and restaurants knew what signs to look for.
This is not the only attempt made in Arizona to detect or deter human trafficking, under which sex trafficking generally falls. ABC15 News reports that the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family also became involved. However, many of the people rescued from human trafficking often return to it.
There are several reasons for this. For starters, the person may now need to care for themselves and lacks the resources to do so legally. There is money set aside for victims in these cases, but the process to access the funds is very complex. Some volunteers reportedly do not even bother trying to use this route anymore.
One of the roadblocks to accessing the funds is that victims must have a record by filing a police report. Many of them choose not to do so whether out of fear or embarrassment. However, no record may mean no monetary support. Because these women may have also had their identities stolen as part of their trafficking experience, they may worry about getting charged with other crimes committed using their accounts or in their name.
Some law enforcement officials remain reluctant to charge the girls they often find engaging in sex trafficking. This is because many view them as victims. Instead, law enforcement seems mostly focused on finding and prosecuting the people they work for.