Combating Child Sex Trafficking with Truckers Against Trafficking
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Today, Trucker to Trucker puts the spotlight on the efforts of Truckers Against Trafficking and their efforts to combat human trafficking and the sex trade:
Truckers Against Trafficking has been established to help raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking within the United States as well as on the international arena. With long, scarcely guarded borders with Canada and even with Mexico, the opportunities for human traffickers to bring people, especially children and vulnerable women into the country is a lucrative and fairly risk-free activity for the criminals behind these schemes.
There is also a serious issue which goes largely unnoticed by many, not least because it seems so impossible to be happening here – the scale of domestic human trafficking, especially in young women and even children.
A recent report by Shared Hope International, an organization which monitors and rates states in the level of child and people trafficking and the measures adopted to tackle the trade, has issued a report on Arizona last month. Note, we are taking Arizona as an example here, but the problem pervades every state in the country and some are better and worse than the results for AZ suggest here.
According to the report card, AZ scores only moderately well across all six major areas assessed by Shared Hope. The criminalization of domestic minor sex trafficking assesses the strength of state laws to tackle intra and inter-state trafficking of children for sexual purposes. As a crime, this has to rank as right up there with first-degree murder, however it is rated as only 'moderate' in the protection granted.
The Shared Hope score is 5 out of 7.5 which reflects the relative weakness of child sex trafficking laws in AZ. For instance, AZ law governing child prostitution has reduced a charge under the law from a Class 2 to a Class 6 felony if the girl is aged between 15 and 17 provided the sex buyer can demonstrate he was not aware of the age of the girl involved. In practical terms, that means the difference between a 21 year sentence to as little as 90 days incarceration.
Given the use of trucks to move people and children across the country who are the victims of this crime, it is no surprise that truck stops are an ideal place to spot the crime. The issue is what do you do if you see something suspicious at the truck stop? The bottom line is to make the call to law enforcement and to educate yourself on the red flags to look for - check out the Truckers Against Trafficking website for more information.