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In this post, we take a look at the efforts of Truckers Against Trafficking to help truckers combat human trafficking, which is a real problem right here in the United States:
We are all aware of the issue of human trafficking into the United States, particularly across the border with Mexico and the activities of criminal gangs of people smugglers. What many truckers are not aware of, and most members of the public at large, is that human trafficking is a serious and growing problem right here within the United States.
Of particular concern is the scale of child trafficking, especially involving children who are sold for sex. Many truckers will have already experienced the site of young women plying their trade as prostitutes, however some of those ‘young women’ are not women at all – they are children. Child sex trafficking is a serious crime, or at least it should be, however it has gained more than a foothold in every single state across the country.
Truckers Against Trafficking is an organization which has been established to engage truckers in combating the problem. They provide practical advice and guidance on what to look out for, particularly at truck stops (as trucks are frequently the number one type of vehicle used to transport people across the country) and what to do if you see something suspicious.
The bottom line is this – if you see something suspicious, report it at once to law enforcement and keep on at them until they respond. Remember: a child’s life may be in danger.
Another organization is Shared Hope International, which ranks and reports on child sex trafficking levels around the world and at home. A recent scorecard was released for Arizona, which demonstrated a mediocre performance from that state in establishing and enforcing laws to protect children and women from the twin evils of human trafficking and forced prostitution. It is important to remember that Arizona is not an exceptional state in any regard – the problems facing Arizona are the same problems facing every state in the country and Arizona is no better or worse than most states in its response to the situation.
The scorecard consists of 6 assessments made of the local laws, local law enforcement and judicial action and an assessment of the scale of the overall problem of sex trafficking involving children. The overall rating for Arizona is moderate, or mediocre as some observers put it.
An example of how poorly we are treating child sex slaves in the United States is demonstrated by amendments to AZ state law which have reduced the severity of charges under child prostitution laws in that state. A charge of sex with a child prostitute has been reduced from a Class2 felony (carrying a 21 year jail sentence) to a Class 6 felony (carrying as little as 90 days) if the sex buyer, ‘John’, can show he was not aware of the child’s age and the child is aged between 15 and 17. The problem is that it is impossible to prove a john did know the child’s age, which means in practice that a child sex offender will be free on the streets again in a very short time.