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Stopping sex trafficking at Arizona’s ports of entry

How ADOT crews are fighting crime
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Posted at 2:22 PM, Jan 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-30 16:22:36-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The State of Arizona is doing its part to help stop sex trafficking on Arizona highways. Lieutenant Scott Gamble with the Arizona Department of Transportation says he’s been working in the enforcement and compliance division to spot and investigate sex traffickers passing through.

“Our officers are trained. The port of entry that I supervise is the Ehrenberg at I-10 the California border. We average anywhere between 6,00 to 6,500 trucks a day that just come through the port of entry,” Gamble said.

According to Gamble, as commercial trucks pass through Arizona, ADOT crews keep their eyes open for suspicious activity. ADOT officers work with other jurisdictions to handle cases when traffickers are caught.

Officials say if a truck comes through with a young person, it will get pulled over and the driver and passenger will be questioned.

"We run the port of entry so any commercial vehicle coming in could be subject to being pulled in for an inspection," Gamble said.

ADOT is also asking the public to call it in if they see signs of sex trafficking.

Those include:

  • Underage people trying to get into bars and strip clubs
  • Young people appearing scared to communicate because someone close by is controlling them
  • Tattoo branding with a pimp's name

“Maybe a van that’s full of young people, young girls with one male person that’s there with them. It’s not like a church group, not a school group. It can be an RV. Do these girls seem shaken, afraid? Are they crying?" Gamble said.

Gamble says truck drivers are some of the best resources for investigators to get information. Right now, there are more than 300 ports of entry in the United States and 14 are here in Arizona.

"They stop at a lot of truck stops and different places where this trafficking is taking place to see what they’ve seen. The drivers are really good if they see something that they just don’t think is right they’ll share that with us in a lot of cases,” Gamble said.

If you have information, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.