The Sun City West Rotary Club hosted Tiffany Lam Mendoza, Community Affairs Coordinator with the Maricopa County District Attorney’s office, as she spoke about the problem of human sex and labor trafficking in Arizona.
Some key information from her speech brought more focus on this growing problem:
- Average age of trafficked victims is 11-14 years old (high schools and middle schools targeted)
- Internet and chat rooms can promise employment, friends, money, or romance to entice victims
- Traffickers use a lot of the same Internet apps the kids use, e.g., Tik Tok, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Whisper, Tinder, Instagram
- 76% of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the internet
- Traffickers just want to use them for financial gain and to keep the victims in slavery to them
- Trafficked victims live only an average of 7 years after being trafficked (drugs, suicide, murder)
- Victims are from all demographics and socioeconomic groups
- Fear, blackmail, extortion, drugs, explicit photos keep victims from reporting their abusers
- Trafficking is market driven, supply and demand, high profits, hard to prove, low risk for traffickers
- Average age of a trafficker is 28.5 and 24% are females who have been trafficked themselves
- One out of five arrests for child sex trafficking have gang affiliations
- 46% of victims know their recruiters
- 1 out of 6 runaways are likely to be sex trafficked, 88% were in foster care or social service programs when they ran
- 40% of homeless youth age 18-25 have experienced trafficking
- 50% of sex trafficked victims are under the age of 16 and 50-80% have been involved with the child welfare system
- The average age of victims in Arizona is 14
- There are 78,400 potential sex buyers every day in Phoenix (the biggest draw is weather, conferences, tourism, sports events, etc.)
- In 2020 there were 10,583 hotline calls about human trafficking, Arizona ranks 14th in the country for reports made to the hotline
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888 (urgent situations call local law enforcement on 911).
The Rotary Club welcomes men and women of all backgrounds and professions who want to serve to change lives. Membership is made up of people from Sun City West as well as surrounding communities/neighborhoods (Surprise, Sun City Grand, Corte Bella, Sun City, et al), both seasonal and full-time residents. Each meeting includes a brief presentation by a Rotary member, community non-profit, other organizations or individuals on a topic of interest to club members. Through regular club programs, projects and neighborhood activities, members learn about the issues that face their communities and exchange ideas about how to take action to respond to them. Fellowship and service are key for membership in the Rotary Club.
For more information about this club, contact Susan Sagahon, President, Rotary Club of Sun City West, at 480-371-9962 or firstname.lastname@example.org.