July, 31st, 2020
Not worried about coronavirus concerns, hundreds of people came together at the Arizona Capitol to raise awareness about sex trafficking. They heard from different speakers around 5:30 p.m. on Friday before a peaceful march in the area. Some held signs that said “Save The Children” and “Child Lives Matter.”
“This is happening in all communities,” said Laura Suttle, a demonstrator. “This isn’t just a Phoenix problem. This isn’t an Arizona problem. This is world, human problem.”
Some of the protesters weren’t wearing masks, and the large group stayed close together. But they were passionate about the cause and wanted to get the word out that even during the pandemic, sex trafficking of kids and adults isn’t going away.“Everyone thinks this is an international problem. This is an American problem,” said Michelle Reis.
She said 800,000 children go missing every year but only half of them are found, so there are 400,000 kids still missing. Reis also said the victims are preyed upon because they want to be famous and have money and status.
“These people are offering it,” Reisi said. “They take them and train them to think their bodies aren’t anything but an object and we’re teaching that in the schools.
Experts say the pandemic hasn’t slowed down the industry in Phoenix, but it has changed trafficker’s tactics.
The rally and march were also held to raise money for different organizations to fight sex trafficking. More information can be found here.
Victims can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888) 373-7888. For a list of local organizations and resources, click here.