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Officials to release 2017 report on human trafficking in Arizona

Posted at 4:57 AM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 08:51:32-05

This month, the Governor's Office of Youth, FaithandFamily is planning to release its 2017 Annual Report by the Arizona Human Trafficking Council.

ABC15 was able to get a first look at the report before its release to discuss the successes and potential improvements to come in combating human trafficking. 

Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security Gila Orrantia said that they trained roughly 3,600 disciplines on spotting and stopping human trafficking. He described these disciplines as first responders, law enforcement officers, firefighters, community members, medical professionals and more.

"And what we do is, we try to look at all the indicators that help a person who sees somebody as a victim," Orrantia described. "And then can know what to do with it; how to proceed, who to report it to, how to get them help. It's victim-centered. It's something that we can do to help the victim immediately and get them help..." 

Orrantia said this type of training has absolutely lead to an increase in more calls and reports of human trafficking in Arizona.

"It has lead to more arrests," Orrantia said. "It has lead to more indictments and convictions. But, the important thing also is it's also led to getting them help." 

But, while training was a big success, Orrantia admits that the council is still struggling with education and awareness about human trafficking.

"We've still gone into groups... I've gone in front of people who have never even heard that this issue exists," Orrantia said. "So, there's still a lot of work to do there."

So, he said they plan on continuing to focus on education. But, he is very proud of the advancements made in the last five to seven years. 

"Law enforcement has to work with non-profits, with government agencies, with the courts, with the medical field - with all the different professions that are involved with children and I've seen a big change," Orrantia said. "I'm a 35-year public safety guy and I've been involved with it since the early 1980s. I've never seen it like this and that's a good story." 

For training resources on spotting human trafficking and how to report it, click here

To view the 2016 Annual Report, click here